Firing Blancs – Peter Stafford-Bow
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.