The shark who must learn to swim

2009-09-02 00:00

THE often ill-defined boundary zone between politics and business provides the backdrop for this highly topical financial thriller by South African author, Carel van der Merwe.

Business tycoon Stephen Winter, the book’s central character, is a man who, on the surface, appears to have it all — he’s extremely wealthy, he heads up a large multinational corporation, owns a luxury mansion in an elite suburb and boasts a beautiful, much-younger, trophy wife.

When a slick black entrepreneur, who claims to have influential friends in high places, offers him the chance of securing a lucrative government contract, the opportunity seems too good to pass up — even if it means ditching his existing BEE partners.

It proves to be a bad move and the beginning of his undoing, as Winter finds himself sucked into a world of double-dealing where corruption seems to be increasingly becoming the norm.

As his life begins to unravel, he finds himself having to confront issues from his carefully concealed past.

Author Van der Merwe obviously knows his way around the boardroom and the book rattles along at a fair pace towards its powerful resolution. Although not flawless — I found it difficult, for example, to feel any empathy towards Winter himself — Shark is intelligent, well plotted and offers a fascinating insight into the politics of power.

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