BOOK BITES | Richard Steyn, Nikki Erlick, TM Logan

04 September 2022 - 00:00
By William Saunderson-Meyer, Tiah Beautement and Gabriella Bekes
by Richard Steyn.
Image: Supplied Milner: Last of the Empire-Builders by Richard Steyn.

Milner: Last of the Empire-Builders ★★★★
Richard Steyn
Jonathan Ball Publishers

When I saw that Richard Steyn, journalist-turned-historian, had written a biography of arch-imperialist Sir Alfred Milner, I wondered, “What was he thinking?” Steyn previously penned hailed biographies on Jan Smuts and Louis Botha, as well as an account of the friendship between Smuts and Winston Churchill. These men were thought of once as revered figures. Milner, on the other hand, was not. He was dispatched here to bring the Boers in line, was a primary instigator of the ruinous Anglo-Boer War, and to this day is understandably loathed by the Afrikaners. He was not much liked by anyone else either, including his empire-building peers. But Steyn explains: “This book is neither to vilify nor justify Milner but rather to explain what motivated this enigmatic and driven individual whose actions so influenced the lives of every South African.” Which, after all, is the nub of what history is about: learning from the unspeakable and unforgivable. — William Saunderson-Meyer @TheJaundicedEye

Click here to buy Milner: Last of the Empire-Builders

by Nikki Erlick.
Image: Supplied The Measure by Nikki Erlick.

The Measure ★★★★
Nikki Erlick
The BoroughPress

An unexpected gift sweeps across the globe; others call it a plague. They are boxes, one per person, that read: “The measure of your life lies within.” Inside is a string that foretells how long you will live. Others find it a relief; some don’t look, while the short-stringers find themselves being cast aside. Would you look in your box? How would you live your life if you knew you only had 10 years? Erlick raises profound questions in an easy-to-read and entertaining story full of complex yet enjoyable characters. — Tiah Beautement @ms_tiahmarie





Click here to buy The Measure

by TM Logan.
Image: Supplied The Curfew by TM Logan.

The Curfew ★★★
TM Logan

The world of two brothers is turned upside down when one of them does not come home after partying together after their final exams. The teens have three rules set by their parents: Let us know where you are; stay with your friends; and don’t miss the curfew. Rob, the older brother, calls his uncle Andy in a panic, saying his brother Zac had not come home the night before. Andy is relieved his son, Connor, is home. He had seen his sleeping form in the early hours. Andy joins Rob at Beacon Hill Woods to see if they can find a clue. They find Zac's keys. Andy returns home to question Connor, who is rushing out, his hoodie drawn over his face. He stops him and as the boy turns, he sees it's Zac. He rushes upstairs to find Connor's bed empty. Andy gets a call from a friend, who tells him her daughter Emily had also not come home. The police call to tell them Connor has been arrested for loitering. When his parents get to the police station they find him bruised and sullen. Meanwhile, the search for Emily is heating up. It emerges that Emily, her friend Olivia, Zac, Connor and a boy named Drew, had left a party to go to Beacon Hill Woods. Five of them went to the woods, but only four returned. The Curfew is easy to read but hard to put down. Entertaining and full of twists and turns. — Gabriella Bekes

Click here to buy The Curfew