FEW Australian authors write as convincingly on the subject of southern Africa as does reporter, press secretary, public relations consultant and soldier Tony Park. This should come as no surprise, however, given that Park has homes both in Sydney and adjoining South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
An Empty Coast – Park’s 12th African-themed novel – unites three characters first introduced in earlier books: Sonja Kurtz and Sterling Smith of The Delta and The Hunter’s Hudson Brand.
The circumstances that draw the trio together in the scrubland of modern-day Namibia are a direct result of almost a century of cross-border warfare between South Africa, Angola and the former German colony intermingled with internal uprisings.
When the desiccated body of an airman is uncovered in an archaeological dig just outside Etosha National Park, the find rekindles interest in the disappearance of a plane almost three decades earlier. International mercenary Kurtz is called in to help her archaeologist daughter Emma identify the dead man’s uniform. En route to the site – and a likely reunion with former boyfriend Smith – Kurtz crosses paths with private investigator Brand and the two are forced to team up.
With Emma suddenly in danger, the unlikely partners put their collective survival skills into action in the face of assassination attempts, repelling air and ground attacks while racing across a vast and treacherous Namibian landscape described in tantalising detail by Park.
An Empty Coast interweaves the history of three African countries with the suspense of wildlife poaching, smuggling and military subterfuge and the grandeur of the vast open deserts and isolated towns of rural Namibia.
Gunfights, explosions, kidnappings and espionage make the plot fast-paced and engaging, and sexual tension between several of the key figures ensures that this story is enthralling to the final page, with an option remaining for further adventures by this newly bonded group.