Melissa's Reviews > The White Lioness

The White Lioness by Henning Mankell
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's review
Apr 11, 2010

really liked it

Enjoyed it, though this one is more fragmented than his other Wallender novels. Set in both Sweden and South Africa, right at the time apartheid is ending (1993), it concerns a plot to assassinate Nelson Mandela. The training of the assassin is done in Sweden by a guy who is a former Russian KGB agent; complications ensue. It is not light-hearted, as the South Africans race to prevent an assassination they only have marginal information about, and the Swedish police try to solve the murder of an innocent woman who wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time -- and deal with the murder of a policeman, the kidnapping of Wallender's daughter, firebombings, and immigration issues, among other things. The narrative switches back and forth constantly, to Wallender, his police comrades, the Russian, the South African assassin, the white Afrikaaners who bitterly resent the end of apartheid and their way of life, the Afrikaaners attempting to divert the assassination, and black Africans -- point of view is far-reaching. Its an ambitious novel, interesting, gripping, but at the end a bit unsatisfying in its fragmentation -- not all points of view are resolved, which is realistic but leaves the reader hanging for more resolution.

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