Generous to a fault, Afrikaner Brink (A Dry White Season, A Chain of Voices) serves up suspense, romance, politics, philosophy, and family chronicle to promote a single idea: Apartheid is murder, not only of black South Africans but also of the ruling white minority, destroying the lives of its young, foreclosing their future, falsifying their past. In An Act of Terror, Brink’s hero, young Thomas Landman, politically aware photojournalist and descendant of 12 generations of Dutch/Afrikaner romantics, is an honorable terrorist bent on ending white rule.

The plot — terror, counter-terror and chase — unfolds in programmatic and predictable language, a politically correct blockbuster. But the sheer pileup of archetypal father-son battle scenes illuminates Afrikaner politics as an extended family feud. And Brink is an inspired geographer. His descriptions of ancient hunting grounds, lonely farms, and dying villages suggests that his real subject is the bond between his people and the continent they love but also mistrust. A-

An Act of Terror
  • Book