Friday, April 19, 2013

South African Youth Literature

Book Review - The Magyar Conspiracy

I was very excited to review a novel written by a South African. The author, Neil Malherbe, has taught English at a number of schools around South Africa, both at High School and Primary School level and is currently the principal (headmaster) of Penryn Preparatory School near Nelspruit.

He is passionate about sport, specifically waterpolo and rugby, and has coached waterpolo at national level. His other passion is to enthuse children about reading, particularly as many seem to lose interest as they enter their teen years. This is his first novel and it received the Silver Prize for Youth Literature.

The Magyar Conspiracy is a mystery novel that takes you from the iconic slopes of Table Mountain to the historical towns of Hungary. It’s a coming of age story about a high school boy who has to come to terms with tragedy and unravel the secrets that have been hidden for longer than his lifetime.

This novel is suitable for 13 years to adult.

My favorite part about this book was how well the author captured the experience of the mother and son when faced with the sudden and unexplainable death of the father. I felt like I was living it with them.

My least favorite part about this book was the times when I didn’t feel like I was living the story, but rather just observing.

I love a good mystery and the secrets are worth finding out.

This book can be purchased in softcover or as an eBook at

I just discovered that Neil has a blog, Neil's Blog, where he writes more about his book and his life in general. One post I recommend tells how he got his idea for the story on "The Next Big Thing."

I did not receive any pay for this review. All opinions are my own.


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