Glen van der Watt
Just finished reading “Task Force Retriever – Out of Angola” – great fun, riveting reading – move over Wilber Smith.
A great adventure/spy novel that keeps you engaged right to the last page. There’s ample action that has you racing towards the end, which came too soon for my liking.
“Task Force Retriever - Out of Angola” presents the characters as products of their time and human nature, a combination of “the good and noble in man” along with “a little evil” (especially in the case of war) of which we are all made. It offers a portrait of the inner machinations of recruiting/handling spies and takes the reader through a journey of suspicion, hope, betrayal and undying courage as the characters tell of Angola’s civil strife.
You go from wondering if Harrington’s lack of preparedness and “fumbling in the dark” are going to get him killed or seriously wounded early on to admiring his ingenuity, quick wit and leadership in a very tough situation. I would have liked to have seen his personal story developed a little further (family, friends and love relationships) but he definitely has you on his side “hook, line and sinker” at the end. Challenges are addressed and overcome with admirable courage and determination. It’s a well-written, entertaining book that provides behind-the-scenes insight into the Angolan civil war.
Add a Twist of Sand to The Guns of Navarone and you have an explosive account of an adventure which will keep you turning the pages.
From a (literally) cliff-hanging opening paragraph, through the intrigues of the secret services of the USA, South Africa and other countries involved in the Angolan civil war, you won’t be satisfied until you have finished this remarkable novel.
Although clearly fiction, it is based on the experiences of the doctor-author, who does not hesitate to describe the bloodiness of man-against-man, hand-to-hand warfare, as well as the awful effects of weapons used at a distance.
For anyone interested in the move of African countries from colonies to independent states, and the rivalry for influence between the US and the communists, the politics are intriguing.
Fiction it might be, but as best-selling author Elliot Perlman (The Streetsweeper) has said, “Fiction, at least some fiction, can also confront us with truths we might otherwise never have encountered.”
Koos & Bettie van der Watt
‘Task Force Retriever - Out of Angola’ is a novel that stimulates the reader’s love of reading, gripping one's attention and interest to the very end.
The adventures and happenings are so realistic that the reader can identify and sympathise with the characters.
This novel is written in a fluent, pleasing to read style and language and when one starts reading, time just flies and one is reluctant to put it down.
The Angola War was in the news years ago and caused much interest, but the mystery and actions were rather secret at the time and not readily available. One can sympathise and feel for the personal intrigues and scheming of the characters.
The characters are portrayed in such a manner that one can feel for them in their personal, as well as professional capacities.
‘Task Force Retriever - Out of Angola’ will be enjoyed by all, whether they prefer adventure or just reading for leisure. A nice to read book that will give hours of pleasure to everyone reading it.
This is an exciting adult adventure novel that keeps the reader riveted to the very last page. Set in war-torn Angola in the '70s, the story follows the harrowing adventures of Tony Harrington and a rag-tag specialist team of South African commandos sent on a mission to rescue a wounded agent, Colonel Cadima, trapped deep in enemy territory.
It is a fast paced and gripping story reminiscent of the style of Alistair Maclean.
Page M.J. Thody
A first class action adventure story set in 1970’s Africa, describes a daring rescue operation into the heart of a war torn Angola. Len Kloosman evokes an intense nostalgia for pre-diaspora Southern Africa through careful depiction of the African landscapes and the attitudes and ideologies of the era:
Colonel Cadima, the internationally educated son of an Angolan school teacher, resourceful and good humoured in his will to survive and promote a positive future for post- colonial Angola.
Pieters, the hardy and adept South African Defence Force veteran, profoundly capable of dealing with the imminent dangers of the terrain and territory.
Harrington, the intrepid adventurer, rising to the challenges of a rapidly shifting reality with a typically South African sense of autonomy and “rules are made to be broken” type pragmatism.
A cracking good read as they say in the genre.
An exciting first book on two levels. First as a rollicking good read and second as an insight into a war most people have very little knowledge of. It tells the story of Tony Harrington’s place in the sometimes sordid military machinations of local warfare and his efforts to extract a high ranking officer from behind enemy lines. It’s all there: action, adventure, politics and just a touch of romance.
The authors attention to the minutiae of the story point to a knowledge based on experience which adds a layer of total reality of the narrative. This attention to detail makes even the incredible parts of the story believable.
The book is well paced and the complications of the plot are blended well into the time line. I became involved with the characters and look forward to a sequel.
This is a novel written with obvious intimate knowledge of the events and involvement of the various characters in the story.
Part fact and part fiction, never the less the story continues to keep one riveted to the pages to discover the next intriguing event.
The way that each of the characters are individually broken down to their personality, ability and relation to the totality of the story gives one a feeling of personal involvement.
Set in a country devastated by internal warring nationalities, which include black against black and white against white. One can only feel for the oppressed peoples who were the ones to suffer at the hands of the power and glory hunters.
I would definitely give this story a 4.8 out of 5 for the action and the all out captivity of the story.
Set during the post independence civil war in Angola, this novel sizzles along from beginning to end. The reader is kept in suspense as to the true reason for the rescue mission of a wounded UNITA colonel by a hastily created team from the South African Intelligence services.
Nothing is as it seems with a web of intrigue woven tightly around elements of the warring Angolan factions and their paymasters, the Cubans, the South Africans and the Americans.
The author draws his characters with a surgical precision and has woven real people and events into the narrative to give it an aura of verisimilitude. He has been at pains to create a credible ambience for each scene, which flow seamlessly across two continents and the plot is well resolved.
There is great attention to detail, particularly when describing the how disciplined men react in stressful situations and how the cohesion of an undisciplined force is rapidly dissipated. .He is also able to impart the geopolitical situation at the time in a lucid manner and his knowledge of weaponry and bush-craft is beyond reproach.
I so enjoyed this book that I read it in two marathon sessions and would suggest that we have another budding Bryce Courtney on our hands.
‘Task Force Retriever - Out of Angola’ is an epic first novel that provides a thrill-per-page account of Tony Harrington’s perilous mission to rescue a wounded colleague deep in enemy territory.
Set in the ravaged Angola of the 1970s, which had been all but destroyed by a catastrophic series of conflicts, the novel combines a rollicking adventure with a sense of realism and truth.
Impeccable research and first-hand knowledge of weaponry, tactics and the geo-political landscape of southern Africa enlighten the reader, and provide a palpable sense of authenticity to the novel.
A thoroughly enjoyable read for anyone with even a passing interest in the genre, it’s a rapid-fire account of the underside of military events of the era that rings true in comparison to conflicts around the world today.