An Honourable Man, By Gillian Slovo
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Friday 01 February 2013
As British forces join a fight against jihadi warriors in Africa, what better moment to read Gillian Slovo's action-packed - but humane and historically acute - novel about General Gordon and his doomed stand against the Mahdi in Sudan in 1884?
As you might expect from the daughter of two ANC leaders, Slovo's story bristles with awareness of the ironies and omissions in the legend of Gordon. However, this is no smug tract tinted by hindsight.
In a galloping adventure, her vivid attendant figures frame the weird hero at its heart.
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