Author: Tony Park
Copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia
Australian author Tony Park has written another intense thriller novel. Last Survivor is the fourth book in the series following freelance intelligence agent Sonja Kurtz.
Joanne Flack, treasurer of the Pretoria Cycad and Firearms Appreciation Society is accused of stealing a female cycad worth millions of dollars; she is on the run from her residence in South Africa and escapes to London but when she is attacked by a terrorist operation who are financing themselves through the smuggling of cycads and it makes headline news, Joanne flees back to Africa to ensure her safety.
With a new mission at hand, the CIA contacts Sonja Kurtz to find Joanne and the terrorists who attacked her. Sonja teams up with former Fish and Wildlife Services investigator Rod Cavanagh and travels to Africa to make contact with Joanne, the moment that Sonja finds her they are attacked by a team of heavily armed killers. Sonja, Joanne and Rod flee deeper into the African wilds seeking refuge.
The story jumps around various parts of multiple countries; South Africa, Mali and Zimbabwe in order to work out who is funding the terrorists and their interest in the cycad. Sonja uses the Pretoria Cycad and Firearms Appreciation Society as a cover to gain access to acquire secret information they may have for her investigation and it becomes clear that someone in the Society is working for the terrorists.
Added to the mix, Faisal the Kuwaiti Prince comes under suspicion when Joanne worked as a horticultural consultant on his private game reserve. There are several twists, turns and plot lines that will keep you fully immersed until the end, especially the shootout between Sonja and her gang facing off against the terrorists.
I love novels about Africa encapsulating history, picturesque landscape, adventure and wildlife. Whilst this novel did take a bit to get into it did conclude with a thriller ending. If you are interested in African fauna and flora this book will be of great interest to you.
I didn’t know much about cycads before reading this novel and appreciated the learning experience involving their worth in regards to the smuggling trade. Overall it was another compelling Tony Park novel which I highly recommend.
Thanks to Pan Macmillan AU and Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read and review.
Footnote: Cycads are 340 million years old, have outlived the dinosaurs and survived mass extinction in three global catastrophes. They are the world’s oldest seed plants and under threat from obsessive collectors. Cycads never produce flowers or fruit but rely on huge seed cones and beetles for pollination.
Many contain dangerous neurotoxins or carcinogens, along with spiky leaves sharp enough to draw blood. Just 347 species are left today. Cycads all over the world are in decline, with four species on the brink of extinction and seven species have fewer than 100 plants left in the wild.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Last Survivor by Tony Park. You can read their feedback in the comments below, or leave your own review!
My love of books started at a very young age. My mum has always been a reader and encouraged me to read, buying me endless book from classic fairy tales advancing to the world of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Kathryn Kenny, Carolyn Keene, Francine Pascal. In my adult years the list of authors is endless and every room in my house is filled with books.
One of my favourite novels is Narnia which has always has a special place in my heart. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1978 and when I was given this book to read it let me escape to another world where I felt like I was in the book with all the characters, it wasfun and exciting to escape from reality and eased the ups and downs of the disease at such a young age.
In books nothing is impossible and there is endless potential and hundreds of places to explore or being taken to places that are only made up from the authors’ great minds, the past and future to navigate, characters lives you step into taking you on an emotional rollercoaster ride or being scared out of your wits. I can experience things that I can’t in real life because they’re not possible or real. It challenges my perspective and mindset expanding my worldview.
I find joy, comfort and peace with books, many people may not get it, but I know bookworms like me truly understand. Reading makes my heart happy.