Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Approximate word count: 95-100,000 words
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“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
No significant issues
Rating: **** Four stars