The Blockade Runners
Print Length: 379 pages
Publisher: Endeavour Media (August 17, 2018)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton
My first paragraph here is almost word-for-word how I opened my 2017 review of Peter Vollmer’s A Question of Allegiance:
I may not have been the very first one, but I was certainly among the earliest reviewers of the novels of South African writer Peter Borchard a.k.a. Peter Vollmer. My reviews began with 2011’s Relentless Pursuit, continued with 2012’s Diamonds Are But Stone, and 2015’s Left For Dead. Of special interest was his 2015 Per Fine Ounce, a continuation novel featuring a character named Geoffrey Peace created by fellow South African novelist Geoffrey Jenkins, a writer with notable connections with Ian Fleming.
Once again, I’m happy to report Vollmer remains a master in his descriptions of international settings and very developed characters. He’s able to vividly capture historical times and places; in the case of The Blockade Runners, his focus is on Rhodesia in 1965 when the U.N. has imposed an embargo on the country to put pressure on Prime Minister Ian Smith to accept majority rule and not continue his minority white government.
The main character of the novel is rugged, womanizing South African banker David Tuck. Despite his military background, he’s known for his accounting skills, especially with international accounts. His South African bank, in its Rhodesian offices, recruits him to be the paymaster for smugglers wanting to bring in oil, weapons, and helicopters illegally into Rhodesia. He has no idea what he’s getting into, to put it mildly.
Soon, he’s paired with the alluring Gisela Mentz, a former East German operative for the Stasi. Together, blending Gisela’s undercover training and Tuck’s quick reflexes and resourcefulness, they travel to Europe and the Middle East to arrange for the secret transfers of funds to smugglers willing to run the U.N. embargo. While France and Germany are willing to look the other way, Britain has a very different agenda. MI6 goes so far as to send out assassins to take out Tuck and Mentz as covertly as possible.
So Tuck and Mentz, quickly romantically involved, are in constant danger and have a series of near-misses and escapes. Adding to the danger, Mentz has inherited a Rhodesian farm targeted by black revolutionaries who want to chase whites out of their country. So, the pair are literally under the gun both when operating around the globe and at home as well.
While The Blockade Runners may not be a pure spy vs. spy espionage thriller, it has all the tropes of such novels.There are numerous chase scenes, deadly fights in exotic locations, clever twists from David Tuck’s fertile mind, generous sex scenes, and complex international chess moves. In short, The Blockade Runners should appeal to readers of Fleming, Graham Greene, Eric Ambler, and all the other old-fashioned thriller writers versed in international intrigue. Vollmer has gone down this road before—I’m delighted to see he’s at it again. I also appreciate the irony—from beginning to end, readers will be rooting for the bad guys. After all, blockade runners are the criminals.
Wes Britton’s review of A Question of Allegiance first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Sept. 23, 2017 at:
Wes Britton’s 2011 review of Relentless Pursuit was posted at:
Wes Britton’s 2012 review of Diamonds Are But Stone is up at:
Wes Britton’s 2015 review of Left for Dead is up at:
Wes Britton’s 2015 article,” The Re-Boot of PER FINE OUNCE: A Continuation Novel That Isn’t What You Think” was published at:
Wes Britton’s review of The Blockade Runners first appeared Sept. 11, 2018 at: