Cover image for Heart of the hunter : a novel
Heart of the hunter : a novel
Meyer, Deon.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown and Co., [2003]

General Note:
"Originally published in English in 2003 by Hodder Headline and in Afrikaans in South Africa in 2002"--T.p.verso.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In his stunning American debut, the South African thriller writer delivers the story of a kidnapping and of a man refusing to reclaim the ruthless methods he mastered in the darkest days of South Africa's battle for survival.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Thobela Mpayipheli has settled into a sedate but rewarding life with the woman he loves. He works as a gofer at a South African motorcycle shop and readies his partner's young son for life on a farm--until an ex-boss asks him to perform a dangerous favor. His Xhosa warrior's heart racing, Thobela soon finds himself driving hard toward Nigeria with a hard drive full of secrets the unified government wishes to file away for good. Thrillingly competent at evading the police, intelligence services, and even a crack paramilitary team, Thobela struggles with the novel's core question--Can people change their essential nature?--while the authorities uncover his deadly past as a weapon of the antiapartheid movement on loan to the Soviet bloc. Like John le Carre's The Tailor of Panama, this novel examines the rippling horrors too often caused by so-called intelligence agents working for foreign masters in backwater nations. With simmering racial tensions, a bounty of natural resources, and a government whose members worked both sides of the cold-war fence, South Africa should prove fertile ground for many fine spy thrillers to come. Don't be surprised if quite a few of them are written by Meyer. --Frank Sennett Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A hulking black motorcycle-shop janitor named Tiny is the unlikely hero of this frantic, intelligent thriller by a South African crime writer. Tiny (aka Thobela Mpayipheli aka Umzingeli, the Hunter) is a former KGB-trained assassin who plied his trade in service of the struggle against apartheid. He is now a peace-loving family man, but when a plea for help comes from the daughter of an old friend, he is forced to race across the country on a motorcycle to deliver a coveted disk, chased by a homicidal special forces commander. His fear of revisiting the violence of his past feels real-the sincere hesitation of a dark-skinned man in a country where violent acts multiply like viruses, especially where black blood is involved. "His hands so terribly ready to kill, his brain clattering out the knowledge of the vital points on the soldier's body like machine gun fire, despairing, don't, don't, don't..." In other ways, this is a standard thriller complete with CIA involvement, an appearance by Muslim extremists and a loose, rat-a-tat prose that keeps pages turning. The central plot twist is predictable and too few of the many story lines are resolved, but the freshness of the context and the emotional complexity of the hero's journey are ample compensation for readers who want a more thought-provoking spy story. Agent, Isobel Dixon. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Thobela Mpayipheli, a descendant of Xhosa kings, has a past he would like to forget. A former assassin, he has settled down with a woman and her son in Cape Town. Then the daughter of an old friend comes to him for help: her father has been abducted in Lusaka, Zambia. In exchange for his life, the kidnappers want a computer disc that reveals the names of double agents and the identity of a mole in the upper echelons of the South African government-and they want it delivered to them within 72 hours. Thwarted in his attempt to fly out of the country, Thobela hops on a BMW motorcycle, and the chase is on. Will he be able to save his friend? Will the mole keep his or her identity a secret? Will Thobela, now the prey, ruin what he has tried to become-a man of peace by reverting to the instincts of the hunter he was trained to be? Not all these questions have happy answers. Despite the complexity of its tightly woven plot-skillfully revealed through newspaper articles and intelligence reports-Meyer's U.S. debut moves at a breathtaking pace that will carry readers away. A sympathetic protagonist and the landscape of South Africa add color to the story. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Meyer is the 2003 winner of Le Grand Prix de litterature policiere, France's most prestigious prize for suspense fiction.-Ed.]-Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.