Nicholas Luard, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (638p) ISBN 978-0-671-66961-4
This sweeping novel of 19th century Abyssinia takes the reader from the royal palace at Gondar, the ancient capital, to the coastal slave markets and the horrors of the ships that carried human cargo to the New World. In addition, there's a side journey to Scotland and the infamous Highland Clearances when the peasantry were forced off the land to make way for sheep. Rachel, heir to Gondar, is forced to flee her kingdom when an evil priest, Abba Salama, joins forces with the ruler of the neighboring Galla to invade her country. She is aided in her travels by Toomi, child of the ruler of Malinda, another neighboring kingdom, who, with her twin brother Mamkinga, had been stolen by slavers as children. The two girls roam North Africa seeking Mamkinga, pursued by Abba Salama's men. Intertwined with their story is that of Jamie Oran, a young Scotsman orphaned in the Clearances who as a boy was fired with a wild enthusiasm for Africa by Dr. Livingstone's wife. Eventually he joins an expedition seeking the source of the Nile. How these protagonists unite to defeat Abba Salama forms the basis of this colorful epic that depicts many facets of African history. Although he sometimes takes liberties with Abyssinian history, in this first novel British writer Luard provides sex, violence, horror, beauty and love in a well written and very readable mix. Major ad/promo; paperback rights to Pocket Books. ( Nov. )
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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