Tag Archives: history

Book Review: Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Black Leopard, Red Wolf     

Author: Marlon James

Publisher: Riverhead Books

American release date: February 5, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/Literature/fantasy/620 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

A man named Tracker has a story to tell, and such a story it is. He is called Tracker because of his nose, and his penchant for finding things. So he is sent on a mission to find a missing boy, and such a group he finds himself in. There is the shapeshifter Leopard, with whom the Tracker has a past but now the Leopard has a boy named Fumeli who carries his bow and arrows and maybe his heart. There is Sadogo, who will tell you he is not a giant. There is the Moon Witch, Sogolon, and others as well.

Their journey will take them to many strange places in the heart of Africa, and they will see many things in their quest for this missing child. Along the way the Tracker discovers many things about himself and his companions. Everything is not as he thinks, and he can’t believe everything he sees.

There is much mischief afoot and many creatures and people who mean harm, and who would prevent this group from finding the lost boy. What is the boy’s importance in the scheme of things? Who is right and who is wrong?

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the first book in Marlon James’ Dark Star Trilogy. It is a book steeped in mythology and fantasy and history. But most of all, it is the story of one man, Tracker. Tracker is a compelling narrator. I found it impossible not to like him and not to root for him, to rejoice in his victories and grieve with him in his sorrows. This books takes you on a journey the likes of which you’ve probably never experienced before. I know I haven’t.

This book is beautifully written in a language that will pull you in and make you an interested bystander with a vested interest in what happens to its narrator. The writing is rich and deep and very compelling. Some of the creatures you will meet will enthrall you, others will terrify you.  I hope to never see such as the Omuluzu, creatures who come out of the ceiling and walk on it as if it is floor. The children will capture your hearts—the Smoke Girl and the Giraffe Boy, the Boy with no legs and the twins who share one body….how can you not love them? As well as the man who wins Tracker’s heart.

I cannot even begin to imagine what will happen next, but I’m certainly looking forward to finding out. In the meantime, I shall be visiting Mr. James’ other novels.

 

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Book Review: Missouri’s Forgotten Heroes by Ross Malone

Missouri’s Forgotten Heroes    

Author: Ross Malone

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

American release date: June 28, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/non-fiction/236 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

There are many books about the famous people in history, the heroes whose lives we study in school, the people we grow up knowing about, famed in song and story. But there are many more unsung heroes we never get a chance to appreciate. This book is about some of those people. And they are all from Missouri, which is a definite plus to me, as I am a native of the state myself.

Missouri’s Forgotten Heroes has many interesting stories to tell. Some of the names may be familiar to residents of Missouri as place names, but the people behind the names are greatly unknown. For example, Albert Lambert (Lambert Airport), John O’Fallon (O’Fallon, Missouri & Illinois), John Mullanphy (various places in Florissant, MO) and Paul Henning (of Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction fame).

There are stories about athletes and stories about pioneers, people who endured great hardships and persevered despite the odds against them. These people are not perfect, many of them have flaws, and they are all human. But that doesn’t matter. In some way, they were all heroes.

This was an interesting book from start to finish. I enjoyed reading about unsung heroes from my own state. I love history, and love to read about it, and this book is a great addition to my library. As a bonus, I received an autographed copy, how great is that? This is my first time reading Ross Malone, but it won’t be my last time. He has a wonderful way of telling a story that makes you feel as if you are there, listening to him. I would love to attend a class taught by him, or a lecture.

The only criticism I can make is that the book would have benefited with a little more editing, but that is not an authorial flaw, and I won’t ding him on that. I’ve seen so-called professional books with similar problems.

If you like history, if you are from Missouri, or if you just like to root for the underdog, this book is for you.