Vortex (Bond and Larkin novel)



First edition cover

Larry Bond, Patrick Larkin

Cover artist
Peter Thorpe (design/illustration)

United States


Thriller, war novel

Little, Brown and Warner Books

Publication date

June 1991

Media type
Print (Paperback)

909 pp (paperback edition)

0-446-51566-3 (first edition, hardback) & ISBN 0-446-36304-9 (Paperback edition)


Dewey Decimal

813/.54 20

LC Class
PS3552.O59725 V6 1991

Vortex is a 1991 war novel by Larry Bond and Patrick Larkin. Set during the final years of apartheid in South Africa, Vortex follows the assassination of a reformist National Party president and his cabinet by the African National Congress, as well as a subsequent seizure of power by far-right Afrikaners. The plot unfolds through a series of intertwining accounts narrated through several characters. It was a commercial success, receiving generally positive reviews.
A Vortex audiobook, presented by David Purdham, was released via Simon Schuster Audio in August 1991.


1 Background
2 Plot
3 Characters

3.1 South Africans
3.2 Americans
3.3 Cubans

4 Reception
5 References

In an increasingly tense, hypothetical South Africa, the ruling National Party and newly elected State President Frederick Haymans seek to negotiate diplomatic reforms with the African National Congress (ANC). However, beneath the surface progress has been slow, since the ANC refuses to disarm its militant wing or cease planning guerrilla operations, and Haymans remains solidly opposed to a universal franchise.
South African paratroopers raid an African National Congress base in Zimbabwe. The raiders uncover plans for “Broken Covenant,” an ANC plot to assassinate the government as they travel back to Pretoria from Cape Town aboard the Blue Train for the legislature’s summer recess. The raid comes at a time when the government’s talks with the ANC are approaching a major breakthrough; the ANC decides to abort Broken Covenant, not knowing that the South Africans already have information on the plan. Seeing an opportunity to take power with the leadership eliminated, Internal Security Minister Karl Vorster deliberately excuses himself from the trip. A courier assigned to transmit the abort signal to the ambush team is also killed in a hit-and-run.
With Haymans and his Cabinet killed in the attack, Vorster assumes the presidency and declares marti