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In this handout provided by the Ministry of Defence, Para and soldiers of the Royal Irish Regiment prepare to board an RAF Chinook for Operation Atomi to Musa Qala on August 24, 2005 in Camp Bastion, Southern Afghanistan.

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Browder deserves our respect, and most of all, our protection through reading this book

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If you saw it you are unlikely to have forgotten it. Viewers of television coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 saw New Orleans disappearing beneath a fetid, refuse-filled flood; elderly residents waving from rooftops to attract help or being pushed to safety hunched in shopping trolleys; 25,000 people directed to take shelter in the Superdome, left for days in the richest nation on earth without adequate supplies of food or fresh water.

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This new novel from the winner of the Commonwealth Prize in Africa places the reader in unsettling literary territory: somewhere between the socially committed novels of JM Coetzee and the vivid South African thrillers of Deon Meyer. But The Curator is delivered in a voice which is the author's alone. Rural South Africa. A black maid looks on in horror as the family of her employer is bloodily slaughtered – she is the only witness to the murders.

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