Secondary Characters

Without giving too much away, the novel is peppered with a memorable collection of secondary characters, from Vestco Corporation chairman Jozef Pyjas who is convinced genetic modification is the only viable solution to dramatically increase food production – to Sir Jack, a treasured Maori elder adamant that GM will mess with the mauri (life force) of species and change the natural order of things, including his whakapapa (ancestry).

Others (in no particular order) include Brad Kaufman’s daughter Eve, who is suffering from a rare and deadly form of childhood cancer; Whatu Kenana – a native plant expert and descendant of a famous Maori prophet; Norton Deakes – a sniper who clocked up over 250 kills with the United States Army Marksmanship Unit before becoming a mercenary; Abdiel Nazim – a former Mossad agent who specializes in elimination through mechanical or chemical means; and Skip – a beer-gutted cray fisherman with no interest in a reward or American dollars because ‘they don’t take that monopoly money at the pub’.

Then there are the ‘aunties’. Aunty Fay is wrinkled like one of those Chinese Shar-Pei dogs, glasses with lenses half an inch thick, and a smile as warm as a coal range in a snowstorm; Aunty Joan yaks away like a pinball on steroids, and her possum pies (‘trapped em and skinned em myself dear’) are more popular than neighboring stalls selling fish eyeballs and wasp larvae ice cream at the Wildfoods Festival.