Wednesday 27 April 2022

To Become An Outlaw by Peter Murphy BLOG TOUR #ToBecomeAnOutlaw @noexitpress #PeterMurphy @RandomTTours #BookExtract



'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

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?

To Become An Outlaw by Peter Murphy is the eighth Ben Schroeder thriller by Peter Murphy and was published by No Exit Press in paperback on 21 April 2022.

As part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour, I am delighted to share an extract from the book with you today. 

Extract from To Become An Outlaw by Peter Murphy

I was born in Bloemfontein, in the Free State, in 1942. My father was a lawyer, who would later become a judge. My mother was a schoolteacher, which I always thought was a strange profession for her, because it always seemed to me that she didn’t like children very much. Neither did my father, come to that. I am an only child, and I have often wondered whether my arrival in this world was planned, or even desired. My parents delegated most of my upbringing to Hilda, our black house servant. I can’t remember a time when Hilda wasn’t in charge of my daily routine. It was Hilda who taught me how to get dressed, how to tie my shoelaces, and all the other essential practical lessons of early childhood. Hilda was a warm and wise woman. She could be strict when necessary, but never once was I in doubt of her love and care. Our relationship was always very close. As a child I thought of her as my real mother. She was certainly more of a mother to me than the formal, reserved woman I was taken to meet, dressed up in my best clothes, for dinner in the evenings – when I was finally deemed old enough for the privilege of eating politely in silence, and listening to two adults talking to each other intermittently over my head, as if I wasn’t there.

I thought of Hilda as my real mother long before my parents, and the Dutch Reformed Church they attended assiduously every week, did their best to explain to me why a black woman could never be a mother to a white child. My parents believed implicitly in racial segregation on every level, and looked to their church for confirmation that God took the same view. Once, when I was fifteen or thereabouts, I pointed out to my parents that, if Jesus were to appear in Bloemfontein on the following Sunday, he wouldn’t be allowed in our church because of the colour of his skin. It was not well received. I have only my closeness to Hilda to thank for my choice to reject the idea that people should be forced to live separate and apart from each other because of their colour. Without her influence in my life, who knows what I might have become? Inertia being the potent force it is, I might have drifted ever closer to the establishment into which I had been born, and become a part of it by default, without ever questioning what it stood for. But she was there in my life. In church and at school, I had little choice but to pay lip service to the relentless Afrikaner orthodoxy that was rammed down my throat day after day. But because of Hilda, it never took root.

One of Hilda’s delegated tasks was to teach me to speak English. My parents, like most Afrikaners, claimed direct descent from the Voortrekkers. I was never shown any specific evidence of our ancestry, but then, none was expected. It was considered impolite in Afrikaner society to question a claim to Voortrekker ancestry. Just as all Welshmen are presumed to descend from Owain Glyndŵr, and all Scotsmen from Robert the Bruce, all Afrikaners are presumed to descend from the Voortrekkers – and in fairness, in the Free State or the Transvaal, the presumption wasn’t totally unreasonable. In any case, whether we were, or were not the progeny of Voortrekkers, my parents were Afrikaners to the core. The only language permitted at meals and social gatherings was Afrikaans. When I was about twelve, a great-aunt, whose word I am inclined to credit, confided in me that as a younger woman, my mother could carry on a pretty decent conversation in isiXhosa. How my mother had acquired that facility, my great aunt either didn’t know, or chose not to reveal to me. When I questioned her about it some years later, my mother, in the tone of voice she might have used to deny an allegation of shoplifting, indignantly denied knowing so much as a single word of isiXhosa.

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. 
He has written and published eleven novels: two political thrillers about the US presidency, Removal and Test of Resolve; A Statue for Jacob, based on the true story of Jacob de Haven; eight historical/legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder, A Higher Duty, A Matter for the Jury, And Is There Honey Still for Tea?, The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr, Calling Down the Storm, One Law for the Rest of Us, Verbal and To Become An Outlaw. 
His latest series features Judge Walden and includes Walden of Bermondsey, Judge Walden Back in Session and Judge Walden Call the Next Case. 
He lives in Cambridgeshire.

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