Firing Blancs – Peter Stafford-Bow

18 September 2020
Firing Blancs Book Cover Firing Blancs
The Felix Hart Novels
Peter Stafford-Bow
Felix Hart Novels
20 May 2020

Felix Hart, Head of Wine at Gatesave Supermarkets, is in a highly problematic spot. Choking his CEO to death during a boardroom presentation, through virtually no fault of his own, was embarrassing enough. But evidence that Gatesave's biggest South African wine supplier is brutalising its workers threatens a far greater scandal. Felix is ordered to Cape Town to suppress the bad publicity, only to find himself stranded, penniless, at a morally suspect township guesthouse. Persecuted by his bosses, blackmailed by his suppliers, and terrorised by politicians, policemen and other criminals, Felix is forced to go deep undercover and fling himself on the mercy of his township hosts. But the forces ranged against Felix and his new allies are as powerful as they are ruthless, and Felix soon realises that he is very much expendable. "In a world of half-baked identity politics, blinkered western privilege and corporate woke-washing, Felix Hart is the white saviour we most need, and Firing Blancs the novel we most deserve." Dr. Jemima Pickelkopf, The New Intersectional Review "Problematic, quite possibly. Counter-cultural, almost certainly. Hilarious, indisputably." Santiago Tormentas, The East Acton Herald "Uncork a bottle, self-isolate and prepare to be amused." Brett Applesaft, The Cellar Badger


The exploits of wine aficionado Felix Hart continue in his latest satirical novel of the wine industry. Firing Blancs, is a colourful adventure where uncompromising situations seem to follow Felix and humour drips off every page. Felix Hart is the head wine buyer for Gatesave Supermarkets and sources wines from around the world, a job that has brought him a lot of success, perks and pleasure.

Under new management Gatesave’s new tyrannical CEO has Felix focused on reducing the price of a South African wine and ensuring the vineyard operates under ethical and fair employee conditions. The reality could not be further from this expectation, and the owner of Blanchkopf Wine Growers is a harsh, intractable and unethical man that basically runs a modern slavery business. Leaked reports suggest Blanchkopf has serious employee treatment issues and an NGO has its sights set on undertaking an audit and exposing the illegal practices. This would be devastating for Gatesave’s reputation and will surely cost Felix his job.

In an exaggerated plot, Felix travels to South Africa and must use his shrewd manipulative style to find a solution. The story brings Felix into the townships and interactions with strange hotel owners, activists, political players, vineyard owners, community leaders, business leaders, NGOs, charities and government officials. With a huge amount of philanthropic funding from Gatesave, everyone has their sights set on it and trying to track it down when it goes missing is a great fascinating part of the story. The manoeuvring Felix has to undertake is exciting and dangerous, and wonderfully brought to life by Peter Stafford-Bow.

The reason I feel this book is better than the others is that the balance of humour and plot is more delicately placed. There are moments when humour is set aside to provide a deeper consideration of people and their relationships. The main theme of the book is well defined, with intrigue in how events and obstacles can be navigated. The location is vividly portrayed and provides an authentic feel to the backdrop.

Great outrageous storytelling and simply a joy to read. I would like to thank Peter Stafford-Bow for providing me with a free copy of his book in return for an honest review.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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