book cover of The Mandela Plot

The Mandela Plot

A novel by

A Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award—Fiction

 For fans of The Kite Runner and A Brief History of Seven Killings, a page-turning literary and political thriller set in apartheid Johannesburg
As the 1980s draw to a close, South Africa is a maelstrom of political violence, the apartheid regime in its death throes. Young Martin Helger is a misfit at an elite private boys’ school in Johannesburg, with a father who is a scrap dealer and a brother who is a mysterious legend.

When a beautiful and manipulative American activist arrives at the family home, Martin soon finds himself wrenched out of his isolated bubble and thrust into the heart of the struggle. At the same time, secrets from the past begin to emerge, tearing at the Helgers, a second-generation Jewish family, even as the larger forces of history and politics tear apart the country.

The Mandela Plot is at once a high-stakes literary thriller and a moving coming-of-age tale that charts the journey of a young man trying to find his place in a country that has lost its way.

Genre: Thriller

Praise for this book

"While The Mandela Plot astounds with the twists and surprises of its irresistible story, this page-turning coming-of-age tale is also a vivid evocation of a remarkable time and place. And a moving and compelling examination of family, power, corruption, hope, loyalty, trust, love, and hate—alive with humour and exuberant language." - Gary Barwin

"The Mandela Plot is as suspenseful as a thriller, and the truest kind of Jewish family story—suffused with love and secrets both. It’s also a masterful, terrifying portrait of a nation, at once bewitching and brutal, whose years on the edge have so much to teach America, and the world, today. You won’t be able to put this book down." - Boris Fishman

"Propulsive, bare-boned, and riveting, The Mandela Plot shows how competing loyalties to family, truth, and history can tear a person—and a country—apart. Kenneth Bonert’s unvarnished characters are fierce and surprising—there are no seat belts on this ride." - Rachel Kadish

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