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Avis Perks

“If I tell people The Seed Thief is about bio-piracy, they tend to look cautiously baffled. If I tell them it is about sex in Brazil, they lean in for more. It really has a good dose of both,” Jacqui L’Ange wrote in a blog post on Books LIVE a while before her debut novel was published.

The Cape Town-based journalist- turned author compares it to books such as Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer, Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, or TC Boyle’s When the Killing’s Done, and slots it into the “literary thriller” or “ecological fiction” genre.

While a passionate love story and a botanical mystery form the framework of the plot, L’Ange explores a myriad other fascinating themes and threads in this wide-ranging, lush and layered work.

“Leaves, shoots, roots – they’re all part of the miracle, but for me the real magic is the quantum possibilities of the seed,” believes narrator and protagonist Maddy Bellani, a young botanist who has been seduced by the Cape fynbos.

While working at Kirstenbosch, she is sent to Brazil, the country of her birth, on a quest to find sacred little star seeds and bring them back from the brink of extinction.

Once there, she hooks up with plant expert Zé, who serendipitously turns out to have rippling shoulder muscles, a taut brown torso and “gold flecks in his hazel eyes the colour of sun shafts penetrating t ...

“If I tell people The Seed Thief is about bio-piracy, they tend to look cautiously baffled. If I tell them it is about sex in Brazil, they lean in for more. It really has a good dose of both,” Jacqui L’Ange wrote in a blog post on Books LIVE a while before her debut novel was published.

The Cape Town-based journalist- turned author compares it to books such as Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer, Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, or TC Boyle’s When the Killing’s Done, and slots it into the “literary thriller” or “ecological fiction” genre.

While a passionate love story and a botanical mystery form the framework of the plot, L’Ange explores a myriad other fascinating themes and threads in this wide-ranging, lush and layered work.

“Leaves, shoots, roots – they’re all part of the miracle, but for me the real magic is the quantum possibilities of the seed,” believes narrator and protagonist Maddy Bellani, a young botanist who has been seduced by the Cape fynbos.

While working at Kirstenbosch, she is sent to Brazil, the country of her birth, on a quest to find sacred little star seeds and bring them back from the brink of extinction.

Once there, she hooks up with plant expert Zé, who serendipitously turns out to have rippling shoulder muscles, a taut brown torso and “gold flecks in his hazel eyes the colour of sun shafts penetrating the water in a Cederberg mountain pool”.

The seeds she seeks are from a plant reputed to have properties that could cure cancer. Her mission becomes a race to trace the seeds before big pharmaceutical companies get their greedy paws on them (here’s the bio-piracy angle which involves sinister stuff like global seed trafficking and corporate control of natural resources).

To gain access to the seeds, Maddy must infiltrate a religious sect. As well as falling in love with the delectable Zé, she becomes entranced with Candomblé, an ancient Afro-Brazilian spiritual tradition.

It’s clear the book involved a huge amount of serious research on matters spiritual and botanical.

The Seed Thief is a richly sensuous experience and L’Ange an alchemist who has mixed an exotic and mesmerising potion.

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