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The Burning Land

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  16 reviews
'It was never meant to be like this. Sabotage, yes. Propaganda, yes. All of that and more - but not this. Not murder.' As greed and corruption taint the optimism of a nation, the political becomes deeply personal for former childhood friends, Lindi and Kagiso. Their beloved home country, South Africa, is rapidly turning into a powder keg, as nations fight for ownership of ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 29th 2019 by Canongate Books
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, mystery
This is the well known BBC journalist and presenter George Alagiah's fictional debut, a brilliant novel written with his wealth of experience and expert knowledge on Africa and South Africa in particular. It depicts the picture of a South Africa that has emerged from its history of political protest, race and struggle and what it has now become, all the dreams, disappointments, and the search for a new identity. It was home for many who grew up there and left for other countries, such as the ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Alagiah, renowned BBC presenter and journalist presents his debut novel about the struggle South Africa has faced for many decades in which he puts his extensive knowledge of the political situation to good use. This is so much more profound than just a simple thriller as my opening statement should suggest, and I am sad to say that the depiction is an accurate one. A murder mystery set against the backdrop of a burning landscape of division and chaos. It explores race, class, power, ...more
Jamie Bowen
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
South Africa is about to explode with violence, land is being sold off to foreign investors and corruption is rife within the government. When one of its countrys bright hopes, the son of a rich family, gets murdered the violence kicks off and foreigners are targeted, many try to flee. When a South African born mediator, Lindi, returns from the UK to find out whats going on, shes drawn into the chaos and may find herself targeted, along with her childhood friend Kalisz. Can they survive? Can ...more
Liz Valette
Although I read several chapters I couldnt get into it, probably my fault as my mind kept wandering. ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
South Africa, Mpumalanga province. The farm owners and the poor rural population experience a deja-vu. They are to move, the land is being redistributed and sold. They had just defeated apartheid when an international investor struggle for property began, dubbed as 'land reform' by the government. Not everyone likes that: local organisations are trying to help, and an anonymous resistance group Land Collective is forming and sabotaging with online statements.
In the middle of all this Lesedi
Elite Group
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fact or fiction?

A farmers house, outbuildings and equipment are sabotaged in Mpumalanga. Four people prepare an article to post under their group proclaiming that they are responsible for this fire. They want to prove that the New Regime is no different from the Apartheid Regime in South Africa. The people, workers who've lived on the land for centuries, count for nothing, especially when the Government buys the farmland from the white farmers. Often these families are turfed out, and left
Nicola Lynch
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Burning Land is a thought provoking and eloquent piece of writing by renowned journalist George Alagiah. It explores the corruption and violence that still exists in South Africa in this post-apartheid era.

The book is a murder mystery, revolving around the murder of a young man fighting against the ongoing land deals, but it is also so much more. It delves into government corruption, politicians working with businesses, family, land deals, displacement, and demonstrates the horrific
Ruth Hosford
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many previous reviewers have given succinct and insightful reviews on the content of this book, most of which I agree with, so no need to repeat. Having lived in South Africa for fifty years, read A Passage to Africa which I thoroughly enjoyed, and seen the author many times on BBC TV, I was intrigued to see in an airline magazine that hed written a novel. The murder mystery is at the core of the novel, but I was unsurprised at how incredibly knowledgeable the author is about the culture and ...more
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like reading novels by people who know their countries well. Alagiah writes with assurance and authenticity about South Africa. It is easy to see who a conflict could escalate after one idealistic person does something inappropriate. It was interesting to see how it would all end, as well as the descriptions of life along the way. He has captured the spirit and frustrations of activism, as well as the striving for a better life.
Cassie Holland
Written by an author with a great in-depth knowledge of South Africa this novel deals with many problems that beset the country. Big business, corrupt politicians, aid workers and migrant workers are all caught in the web of lies, self- interest, corruption and the people trying to combat this.
A wide ranging look at South Africa through a work of fiction.

Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Ann Tonks
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't been back to South Africa since shortly after the regime change in the mid-1990s and so I enjoyed (and was depressed) but this book that explores layers of corruption in the political scene. There are black and white lead characters providing different perspectives and even thought this isn't the best political thriller I've ever read, if you have any interest in South Africa, it's worth a look.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I dunno I just couldn't connect with this. Part of the problem being how predictably centrist the inevitable conclusion to the political aspect of this political thriller is but also the main character just irritated me. Maybe that's a cultural barrier, but I feel like I should be able to comment on whether or not a white South African character who has been raised in the UK works
Amanda Longhurst
Very good. A sad description of modern SA post rainbow nation desires.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and educational.
Ros Lawson
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a well-written book but Im not sure why it didnt grip me. It has a good story line, with believable characters and GA has a wealth of South African knowledge; to be fair I should rate it 3.5*s. ...more
Corey Mitchell
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
A good first fictional novel by Mr Alagiah.

The story takes place in South Africa with a reflection on real news stories that have occurred in this country, with a fictitious twist.

I enjoyed the depth of all minor characters but I felt the two leads Kagiso and Lindi missed that vital part which would have made their characters more believable, especially the naivety of Lindi could have been heightened tenfold.

As this was a proof reading I read, I found the book slightly too long with certain
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