It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour To Become an Outlaw by Peter Murphy.
‘When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw’ – Nelson Mandela
About the Author
Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the United States, and served for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. As well as Verbal, the seventh book in the Ben Schroeder series, he has written two political thrillers about the US presidency, Removal and Test of Resolve. His latest series, featuring Judge Walden, returned in 2019 with a fresh series of cases. He lives in Cambridgeshire.
About the book
1964, Apartheid South Africa. Danie du Plessis, the son of a conservative Afrikaner family, is poised to start a glittering legal academic career at one of South Africa’s leading universities, when he falls in love with a student, Amy Coetzee. But there’s a problem: he’s white, she’s not. Facing arrest, imprisonment and ruin, the couple flee South Africa, and settle in Cambridge, where friends find them positions at the University. They marry and have two children, and have seemingly put the past, and South Africa, behind them. But in 1968 Art Pienaar enters their lives, and, insisting that they have a duty to fight back, enlists their help in increasingly dangerous schemes to undermine the South African regime.
When Pienaar and a notorious drug dealer, Vince Cummings, are found murdered together, Danie’s activities come to light, and he and his family find themselves in mortal danger. Danie is also threatened with criminal prosecution on behalf of a government desperate to maintain good relations with the apartheid regime. Danie knows he’s sailed close to the wind. But has he become an outlaw? Can Ben Schroeder persuade a jury that the answer is no?
I think this is an interesting one, and slightly different for this particular author. It wades into a complex political and human rights issue, that has faded into the chests of history a little. I can remember the global pressure and outcry to demand an end to apartheid. Of course that is what people tend to remember and not the many years of oppression, the victims of the segregation laws, and certainly not the nameless people fighting against the oppressive system.
In this eighth book in the Ben Schroeder series a question arise of what exactly constitutes an outlaw, a criminal – an enemy of the state. Aside from the minutiae details of the actual legal case, there is a bigger discussion about whether the people who fight against the rule of law of a country or state are indeed outlaws if the rule of law or the government/dictator in charge are guilty of the crime of oppression, human rights offences or any crime considered an atrocity to the greater world.
The word domestic terrorist, activist, rebel and outlaw take on a completely different meaning when the opponent is cruel hatemonger. It’s neither a lack or white answer – it all depends on each variable. It’s an interesting legal crime read, which is fleshed out by the story that is very much the bigger picture in this premise.