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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.3 out of 5
5 Stars
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  • A well crafted 'alternate history'

    Set in the early 1990s, Vortex outlines a road that South Africa might have taken had diehard Apartheid leaders been in power rather than Mandela. Through both its main characters and various snapshots, the novel outlines the Afrikaners' seizure of power, followed by both internal fighting and external wars against a Cuban-led alliance of socialist factions and eventually an Anglo-American intervention force. Ethnic cleansing by both whites and blacks, South Africa's nuclear bombs, and Cuba's chemical weapons add to the carnage infected by 'mere' conventional weapons. The novel is fairly long but fast-paced, and hits the right balance between details and brevity with each part of the plot. The characters are a mix of decision-makers in Washington and Pretoria, military officers from Cuba, America and South Africa, journalists, and various soldiers, guerrillas and civilians caught in one war or another. Vortex is not great literature, and some left-wing readers would find it too annoyingly pro-American or anti-socialist. It is nonetheless a fascinating and at times chilling view of how South Africa might have turned out after the Cold War.

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    2 person found this review helpful

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  • A great military study

    When I first started reading this one, I thought I had made a poor choice and that Bond had let me down in what was to be an analytical reporting of a bit of a skirmish with a major love story overarching. I was dead wrong! This had a bit of everything, including deluded micromangers who get guidance from God. On top of that, the initial invasion planning would make tremendous war gaming studies for some of our wannabe military brains trusts. Well written and obviously a lot of knowledge and research.

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    1 person found this review helpful

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  • Great plot and well written

    I really enjoyed reading this - it is one of the best books I have read in a while. The story was well written and there were several plot twists which kept things interesting right up to the end.

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  • A plausible and enjoyable scenario

    I've grown to enjoy Bond's works. He sets out interesting scenarios and 'games' the action and strategies in a realistic way. Best of all, he fleshes out the 'enemy leaders' in a human not cartoonish way (Tom Clancy). Thus you end up thinking of both sides as human beings rather than caricatures. This novel is quite realistic had certain circumstances occurred. The novel is a bit overly long at the end. Bond it seems is determined to culminate every plotline to the end even if the reader wasn't as a attached to them as he was. But it was as usual a very good read. Keep them coming.

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