Giveaway & Review: The Chicken Thief by Fiona Leonard

Title: The Chicken Thief

Author: Fiona Leonard

Published: 2011

Synopsis: Alois is The Chicken Thief, an intelligent young man struggling to find his way in a southern African country wracked by political unrest and a crumbling economy. A chance encounter gives Alois the opportunity to make some fast money, and hopefully improve his future. However, his assignment goes horribly wrong, and he unexpectedly finds himself in the midst of a complicated and perilous struggle to rescue a war hero and transform the political landscape. Though something of an unlikely hero, Alois ultimately learns that both dreams and justice are within his grasp.

Status: Read from March 12 to 13, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

I admit to being a little hesitant in accepting The Chicken Thief for review as usually I am not terribly fond of political thrillers however I was intrigued by the excerpt and given Fiona Leonard is Australian born (and my participation in the AWW challenge) I was willing to give the book a chance.
I am very glad I did for The Chicken Thief is a well written and absorbing story encompassing political intrigue, mystery, adventure and romance. Alois, a young African man disenchanted with his country and culture, makes a living stealing chickens from the walled compounds of his neighborhood. When he is caught he expects to be arrested and beaten, instead he is offered the opportunity to earn a lot of money by doing a small and seemingly simple favour for his captor. The task quickly becomes complicated though when he is caught up the rescue of a national treasure and a corrupt President’s determination to hide the truths that brought him to power.
Set in Africa, Leonard’s experience as a diplomatic consultant in the region gives authenticity to the cultural, social and political world of her fictional setting. Essentially the book concerns itself with a corrupt government who gained power by murdering it’s rivals. For twenty five years the only survivor of the purge has been held captive by the President but Gabriel has escaped and is determined to expose the decades old betrayal. Alois reluctantly becomes Gabriel’s guardian as they try to stay one step ahead of the President’s forces, moving between old allies, battling the ghosts of the past and the fears of the future. I was unexpectedly fascinated by the political secrets but also enjoyed the suspense of the clandestine maneuvers of the old enemies. The plot of the Chicken Thief is fast moving and interesting with some surprising twists that kept me engaged.
While I enjoyed the story, the characters really sold it. I liked Alois a lot, a complex and realistic protagonist he is both familiar in the way many twenty something men finding their way into adulthood are, and exotic. as a resident of a country that poses challenges unfamiliar to me. Leonard communicates her protagonists thoughts and emotions that feels genuine and breathes life into the young man. I particularly admired Gabriel, a rebel with strength and resilience, and the best interests of the country at heart. The book is peopled with a supporting cast who are interesting and add to both the plot and the main protagonists characterisation.

The Chicken Thief is a wonderful example of a hidden gem lurking in amongst the plethora of self published works. It’s unique premise and setting, and strong and believable characters makes this an entertaining and engaging novel.

Available to Purchase

@Amazon (print and Kindle) I @Barnes&Noble (print and ebook)

About the Author

Fiona Leonard has had a string of perfect jobs. Fiona was recruited out of university to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and spent the next ten years being paid to write and travel around the world. During this time she wrote everything from speeches, to ministerial briefings, reports and press releases. Perks of the job included meeting Nelson Mandela and coordinating a tour of Zimbabwe by an Australian rock band (Yothu Yindi). In 2003 she was awarded an Order of Australia medal for her work. After leaving the foreign service she became a consultant in international politics and trade, meaning she got to write a lot, usually from home (and occasionally in pyjamas).She is particularly proud of a book she wrote on women in export. A twelve month road trip across the United States and Canada in 2009 afforded Fiona the opportunity to break away from writing about international politics and try something a bit different. Twenty-one states and fifteen thousand miles later she had finished her first novel, started work on her second and had begun to build a freelance portfolio writing for Australian magazines. She also posted over 200 blogs during this period, detailing a journey that author, Daniel Pink described as ‘terrific and inspiring’. She is now based in Ghana, West Africa, where she writes, blogs, home schools her daughter and plots ways to incorporate more travel into her life. Throughout her career, Fiona has maintained an active involvement in the literary community at both a local and international level. She is a former Chair of the Katherine Susannah Pritchard Writers’ Centre in Western Australia and is currently an active member of Ghana Bloggers. She was recently invited to join Global Voices, an online community of over 300 bloggers from around the world.

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Enter to Win

1 of 2 electronic editions of

The Chicken Thief


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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 22:07:57

    Thanks for reminding me that I have a copy of this that is waiting to be read. No need to enter in the contest.



  2. Chesh - USA
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 13:20:41

    Interesting… I’d like to enter this 🙂



  3. Elizabeth Lhuede
    Mar 31, 2012 @ 05:37:25

    Count me in! I’ve added it to my GoodReads page. Will Facebook & Tweet today. Hopefully we can attract some more entries for you.



  4. Fiona Leonard
    Jul 24, 2014 @ 20:05:12

    Hey Shelleyrae, thanks so much for being prepared to read this back in its original form. I subsequently sold it to Penguin and it will be released in Australia in August. The support of bloggers like you was critical in that process and I’m incredibly grateful. Thank you!



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