Discover Revolutionaries, Hostages, Bravery… Novel Launched

New Zealand writer, Thomas Devine, has just launched his second novel, Tortlona, following publication in the United States. He said, ‘This adventure/thriller – with its revolutionaries, hostages, and bravery – should be a winning combination that a range of readers will enjoy discovering.’

Andrew Wright, author of Sanctuary’s Loss, described the fictitious West Indian island Republic of Tortolona as a ‘setting familiar enough to engage and unfamiliar enough to be intriguing’ and as ‘a frightening place to be’. 

The novel has a large cast of characters, including Martin Levera, a black Cuban-trained army officer who risks a firing squad if his anti-government plotting is discovered. His wife’s friendship with Tortolona’s First Lady, Catherine Duppie, puts him in further jeopardy. 

Driven to mutiny, he and his rebel soldiers hole up in an old French fort in the jungle where seven foreign tourists (most Americans) become pawns in the revolutionary struggle for ideological and political control of Tortolona.  In the climax, the mutineers take on the rest of the Tortolonan Army. 

Devine’s inspiration for Tortolona came from family roots in Tortola, the largest and most populated of the Virgin Islands. Devine’s maternal forebears arrived in New Zealand from Tortola in 1864. (A high proportion of the white sugar plantation owners left Tortola during the economic downturn in the 1800s when slavery was abolished.)  In the novel this same family background is given to one of the two New Zealand hostages, Aimie Featherston, a honeymooner. 

The novel was edited by Andrew Killick of Tauranga who expressed admiration for Devine’s ‘ability to concoct and then carry off the plots and action’ not only of his first novel, Reversal Point but Tortolona as well. 

He described Tortolona as ‘…an interesting and exciting read. When I wasn’t reading I found myself thinking about the characters and wondering what would happen to them next – always the sign of an engrossing story. It takes awhile to get into the action proper while all the characters are introduced, but the Devine pulls this off very well by using sub-plots of human interest, action and romance.’