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A Single Daring Act by Garth Cameron


Garth Cameron seems somewhat of a historian with a penchant for creating novels that are set within the backdrop of some fascinating moments in history. His first novel, Umberto Nobile and the Arctic Search for the Airship Italia traverses the deep unknown tundras of the world following the fortunes (and misfortunes) of Umberto Nobile and his crewmen - all during the fascist era and Mussolini-reign of Italy. Once again, in A Single Daring Act, Cameron tackles another moment in history often overlooked in popular history books - the conflict between Paraguay and neighbouring Bolivia, also known as the Great Chaco Dispute centred on the Paraguay river.


Such a setting really does remind the reader of the great expanse of history and of our world, but also brings a humanity to a conflict that is so unknown here in Aotearoa New Zealand - and yet something in which we played a small part.


The centre of A Single Daring Act is Connor Travis, a strong headed lawyer and pilot and his interactions with a fortuitous encounter with the South American conflict. I say fortuitous because there really is a sense of luck that brings a lot of the story together. From the meeting of Sophia Garcia to his involvement in high levels of espionage.


The overwhelming highlight of this novel is the depth of research that Cameron must have undertaken in order to write so convincingly. There is such a feeling of authenticity throughout the chapters that visualising the world of 1930s Paraguay is clear and effective. Some of the characters are fictitious, but those based on reality are detailed and intriguing. Certainly the scenes involving conflict and flights are superbly written and do keep the reader continually engaged in the fortunes of our man, Connor.


Lovers of adventure series with that required love interest will find solace in the world created by Cameron. A Single Daring Act fills its pages with twists and turns of the underbelly of conflict and spy-life. Certainly there are enough thrills and spectacles to keep even the most avid adventure lover guessing about the outcome for Connor.


Overall, this is a piece that will entertain. It will surprise. It will keep you guessing. It feels a little more like a holiday read with an ever shifting narrative driven by great characters, and a quality plot line - a chance to switch off and be taken along for quite the ride.


Reviewer: Chris Reed

Street, Jackson and Stuart