The Chicken Thief Synopsis
Alois is The Chicken Thief, an intelligent young man impelled into a life of crime as a means of survival in southern Africa. The political climate is turbulent, with the current President experiencing lagging popularity, and under pressure from a disillusioned population.
A chance encounter gives Alois the opportunity to make some fast money, and hopefully improve his future. However, his assignment goes horribly wrong, and Alois unexpectedly finds himself on a complicated and perilous pathway, entangled in intrigue and heroism. Though something of an unlikely hero, Alois ultimately learns that dreams and justice are both within his grasp.
On one level The Chicken Thief reads as an action-packed and edge of your seat political thriller. On another level, a very intimate tale of one man’s journey, with his journey of self-discovering mirroring that of an entire nation.
The understated title of Fiona Leonard’s novel, The Chicken Thief, belies the depth and power of the message that lies within.
Leonard’s prose conveys great passion and maturity whilst avoiding self-indulgence.
People think you can only die once, but Alois knew death took a long time. It was like carving a stone. You take a chisel and chip away bit by bit until only the beautiful form is left. Each chip makes you what you are, but what is left is fragile. Kick a rock over and it thuds into the dust. Kick over a carving and watch it fall apart. By the time you know what the rock is meant to look like it’s too late.
Alois’s mother was like that. Time had been a hard craftsman. Some of the blows had been dealt when she wasn’t looking, others she went in search of. If you always look at your feet and never the sun, you won’t be blinded. But Alois’s mother was different. She wasn’t content to simply look, she wanted to climb up and see what the sun was made of herself.
In The Chicken Thief, Leonard personalises for the reader the stories of political upheaval often seen in the headlines. Her characters are multi-dimensional, each with their own personalities and motivations.
I was so impressed by this novel from an Australian author I had not previously heard of – and I know you will be too. Truly great fiction both entertains and has the power to shape people’s thinking – in The Chicken Thief, Leonard has achieved just that.
Fiona Leonard is definitely an author to watch, and The Chicken Thief, a novel I will be recommending to my friends.
BOOK RATING: The Story 5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5
Genre: Action-Adventure, Thriller, Drama, Literature
Author Information: Read all about Fiona Leonard in my special Aussie Author in Focus article (includes interview and 2 copies of the book to giveaway!)
* I was provided a digital copy of this novel by the author for review purposes. My receiving this book for free in no way affected my ability to express my honest opinions about it.