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On this page you will find reviews of Michael's books.

The Unravelling

5 star golden quill for The Unravelling
Golden Quill awarded by Book Viral
The kind of Historical Fiction that spoils us for other books ...

The BookViral Review:
A powerful and emotive historical novel of authority and compassion, The Unravelling is the genre at its very best. A novel that embraces pivotal events from southern Africa’s bygone years to give us a novel that’s literate and true to life and sure to grab the attention of discerning readers.
In chronicling Rhodesia’s collapse and the emergence of Zimbabwe, The Unravelling personifies the struggle of southern Africa’s black population against racial discrimination but it derives its impact less from epic scope than from the wrenching immediacy of its subject matter and the moral fortitude of its appealingly, idealistic protagonists.
The Unravelling is a novel with the courage to be about complex, sweeping ideologies and emotions with Chalk effectively using the alternate perspectives of disparate timelines to create an edgy, suspenseful read which is deceptively easy to become immersed in. Anchored in the stories of Nick, Sipho and the heinous Johannes du Toit, The Unravelling has a predictable trajectory, but every scene brims with rich and vivid details that accumulate into a rich fabric of history, cultural impressions and political insight.
It’s the kind of Historical Fiction that spoils us for other books in the genre because it reveals so starkly how the majority quickly fall into a conventional routine and lulls us with the reassurance that they will not look too hard, or probe too deeply, or make us think beyond the boundaries of what is comfortable. 
Chalk doesn’t skimp on social commentary, it’s the underlying fabric of his narrative, but whilst the sorrow in many countries in southern Africa is ripe for drama The Unravelling makes its points without the need for breast-beating. He candidly reminds us what has led to the tragic extinction of considerable indigenous wildlife, of the greed and moral ambiguity that continues to threaten the Rhino population. It plays out its hand as the lives of Nick, Sipho and Johannes du Toit converge in a lethal encounter and the result is genuinely affecting.
A superb read commensurate with novels by Wilbur Smith, Bernard Cornwell and Colin Falconer, The Unravelling is an unreservedly recommended Golden Quill read.

January 2024


What did really happen in Rhodesia when it became Zimbabwe? Who were the main players and, more importantly, who were the people whose lives were affected by decisions they really had no part in?

History comes alive in this ‘factual’ novel by Michael Chalk. Written with a deep knowledge and understanding of the changes during the 1970-1980s, The Unravelling gives, through an array of different characters, an unbiased account of those turbulent days. The different backgrounds of the two main characters, Nick and Sipho, and the history of their cultures and life-styles, create thought-provoking debate. Introducing the ‘good, bad and the ugly’ into this powerful story of politics, war, poaching, wildlife conservation and heroic deeds, love and family bonds, history really comes alive under the excellent penmanship of Michael Chalk.

The descriptions of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe’s beauty as the reader is taken on a tour of this rich and spectacular country are superb. One can really see and feel the magnificence of this beautiful and varied landscape. This book is not just only a reminder of the past, but also an exciting, action-packed and hugely entertaining novel.

March 2024

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