Chameleon Mountain is not just a good Peter Cleary novel.
It is good by any standard of authorship. If there is a formula for writing entertaining, credible and interesting fact-based fiction, Cleary has found it and is increasingly perfecting its implementation. Few can master his skilful ability to weave history and geography into a compelling narrative that demands attention and transports one into the very time and place his story depicts. The book starts in 1754 in the sparsely inhabited Swartberg region.
It ends at the turn of the 20th century, following the Boer war. In between is an incredible jigsaw of natives, settlers, politics, generations, raids, loves, lusts, heartache, heroes, villains, greed, ambition, prejudice, battles and bravery – each piece fitting perfectly in place.
Once again the key to the novel is its credibility. It is true to the circumstances and history of each of the chapters. All the characters are believable; all the plots and subplots are sublime. Allow me to deviate: I saw Lance Klusener play cricket when he was still a schoolboy in eShowe, and Marius Jonker when he refereed his first low level rugby match. I predicted correctly at the time that both would become big names in their respective fields, and I was proved right. I now prophesy that Peter Cleary is going to become a major name in South African literary circles. Read Chameleon Mountain and you will understand my confidence.
Dave Savides – Zululand Observer