The Green City in the Sun

Barbara Wood, Author Random House (NY) $19.95 (699p) ISBN 978-0-394-55966-7
Wood's skill as a writer of well-crafted, impressively researched romances is growing. With this engrossing saga, set in Kenya from the early 1900s to the present day, she should achieve a breakthrough to readers who look for literary competence as well as a good story. Here she traces the intertwined destinies of two families over three generations. Lord Valentine Treverton is representative of the upper-class Britishers who founded white settlements in Kenya: hardworking, determined to wrest a coffee crop from East Africa's fertile soil, he is also arrogantly ignorant of the ancient traditions of the natives who call their home Kikuyuland. When Treverton cuts down a sacred fig tree on his new plantation, medicine woman Mama Wachera puts a curse (thahu) on the Treverton family until ""the land is returned to the children of Mumbi.'' Her descendants are destined to play a vital role in the apparent success of that curse. Representing the best that white settlers brought to East Africa is Valentine's sister, Dr. Grace Treverton, who establishes a mission clinic that strives to bring modern medical care to the native population. ``Daktari'' Grace is another link in the chain of pioneering female physicians who feature in most of Wood's (Domina, Vital Signs) novels. Wood nicely recreates time and place, interweaving the main events in Kenya's history with domestic details and social nuances to enrich a sometimes melodramatic tale of pride, passion and revenge. The customs and taboos of the Kikuyu are appropriately integrated into the narrative, as is the inevitable conflict of cultures, sweeping to a maelstrom of violence during the Mau Mau terrorist uprising of the 1950s. 100,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; paperback rights to Fawcett; Literary Guild dual main selection. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Paperback - 616 pages - 978-1-59652-871-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-449-14595-1
Hardcover - 978-0-517-05082-8
Paperback - 656 pages - 978-0-330-30723-9
Paperback - 598 pages - 978-0-595-43339-1
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