BARE GROUND Peter Harris Picador Africa At "a critical time" is the phrase award-winning author Peter Harris uses to describe the periods in which he set his first two books. He employs it again for his latest — his first novel. In a Different Time, about the 1980s trial of the Delmas Four ANC activists, won Harris one of SA’s top book prizes, the Alan Paton Award. His second book, Birth, described the dangerous and violent lead-up to SA’s first democratic election in 1994. Harris has now ventured into new territory with a novel, Bare Ground, which he insists is set in an indeterminate time but clearly mirrors the past decade in SA. It’s a political and corporate thriller packed with intrigue. I read it in one sitting. At the heart of the story is a huge empowerment mining deal that, due to its nature, needs government sanction. The president takes a close interest in the outcome. Max Sinclair, ruthless, complex and flawed, heads the last big mining company to do an empowerment deal...

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