Friday, July 27, 2012

The Chicken Thief / Fiona Leonard

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Approximate word count: 95-100,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


“As a teenager, Fiona took two career aptitude tests. The first said she was unemployable, the second returned only one result - coroner. She decided to ignore both (and give up taking aptitude tests) and instead became in turn, an Australian diplomat, foreign and trade policy consultant, freelance writer, theatre producer, blogger, home schooler and author (and sometimes several of these at once).

She has a gypsy soul that has carried her across twenty countries on four continents, including one year long adventure driving across the USA and Canada with her husband, daughter and the dog.

Her love of Africa was forged during a three year posting to Zimbabwe. She now lives in Ghana, West Africa.”

For more, visit Fiona’s website.


“Alois is The Chicken Thief, an intelligent young man struggling to find his way in a southern African country wracked by political unrest and a crumbling economy. A chance encounter gives Alois the opportunity to make some fast money, and hopefully improve his future. However, his assignment goes horribly wrong, and he unexpectedly finds himself in the midst of a complicated and perilous struggle to rescue a war hero and transform the political landscape. Though something of an unlikely hero, Alois ultimately learns that both dreams and justice are within his grasp.”


I enjoyed The Chicken Thief for two distinct reasons, the setting and the plot. The latter could almost be described as a political thriller, but much different from the typical because of its setting in a fictional African country. By using a fictional country, the author was able to build her own world complete with culture, history, and socioeconomic factors that, while I suspect borrowing from actual happenings in other African countries, is a credible composite. In such a world, where the reader has few preconceived notions, the  direction the story might take is harder to guess, and things that might not be credible if set somewhere known are completely believable. I didn’t mention the characters, because, although well done, what made them unique to me was largely due to the setting and plot (although maybe the characters came first). How it came together doesn’t matter, I guess. The result, a fast-paced and suspenseful story made that much better by its foreignness, does.


A limited amount of adult language

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues

Rating: **** Four stars


Walter Knight said...

Speaking of chicken thieves, I had the opportunity to view an old booking docket from the 1930s at the Grays Harbor County Jail in Montesano, Washington. I noticed one of the bookings listed the formal charge as "No good God damned chicken thief."

Also, eight people were arrested in one night for "Insanity." I love researching local history.

I'm just thinking out loud, a bit off topic. Fiona's book looks like a winner.

Fiona Leonard said...

Walter what a great story! I have a google alert set for 'chicken thief' to alert me to postings about my book. While it's interesting to read what people are saying about my book, what I really enjoy are all the random articles about chicken thieves from around the world - everything from stolen mascots to people caught red handed in coops.

Thanks too, Al for the kind review. I'm glad you enjoyed the book.

You were right about my motivation for setting the book in an unnamed country. In my head I know exactly which country it is, but I wanted the reader to come to the story without preconceptions, especially given that the President is such a central character. My President and the real country's President have virtually nothing in common with the exception of the fact that the frog incident actually happened to the real President...