Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy, #1)by Marlon James Published 05 Feb 2019
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Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.
As Tracker follows the boy's scent—from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers—he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?
Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truths, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all.
"Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy, #1)" Reviews
book: *is an epic fantasy*
me: hm. ok
book: *is set in a fantasy version of Africa and is deeply rooted in African mythology, complete with vampires, witches, necromancers, shape-shifters and double-crossing ex-boyfriends while on a mercenary job*
me: oh shit. ohgh fuck!!!!!
today, we read.
signed copy - BOOM!
so, when penicillin came 'round, and everyone was all stunned and grateful and, "ohhhhhh, we didn't realize how badly we needed this!" that's me. right now. wanting this with a fierceness.
I felt oddly removed from this book at the beginning, and by the end I was crying every other page. So there's that.
What a wholly-immersive wild adventure this novel is! Going into it I knew Marlon James has a talent for writing intricate sweeping tales from having read his previous novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings". That book greatly enhanced his international prominence having won the Booker Prize in 2015. That same year I was one of the judges of The Green Carnation Prize and we also selected his novel as a winner - not just for the magnificence of his storytelling but the meaningful inclusion of gay characters and gay sex in this Jamaican story about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley and drug trafficking.
“Black Leopard, Red Wolf” is very different from that previous book yet still retains James’ unique style, sensibility and alluring mischievousness. Touted as an ‘African Game of Thrones’, it describes a fantastical medieval adventure involving warring kingdoms, witches, giants, shape-shifters and a quest for a missing child. But it’s all firmly rooted in African mythology, language and history. There have been significant examples recently of storytelling whose narratives aren’t wholly based in an Anglo-Saxon past but draw instead upon traditions in African culture. From Tomi Adeyemi’s “Children of Blood and Bone” to Akwaeke Emezi’s “Freshwater” to the phenomenally successful film Black Panther, these tales insist upon the presence of African lore and pay respect to its cultural history whose influence has largely been absent from Western narratives. Marlon James does the same while creating a riveting journey that has all the marks of a fantasy novel but also explores sophisticated ideas about the meaning of storytelling and explicitly adult themes about ambition, relationships, sex and violence.
Read my full review of Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James on LonesomeReader
“Black Leopard, Red Wolf” by Marlon James is the first book on the Dark Star Trilogy. This trilogy has already been dubbed in the publishing world as “the African Game of Thrones” and I will tell you why soon. The publication date for this is January 2019 but thanks to those amazing people over at Riverhead Books I get an early peek into this enthralling tale.
We meet the main character Tracker, a hunter who is know for his nose- once he catches the scent of a person he cannot let it go until that person is found, dead or alive. It is because of this specific skill Tracker is commissioned to look for a boy who disappeared under very mysterious circumstances three years ago. Tracker finds out he is not the only person looking for the boy, and the search turns into a team effort, but not everyone on the team can be trusted. The group that accompanies Tracker on his search is filled with mysterious characters all with secrets and hidden agendas.
Tracker and his team move from one city to a next, through enchanted forests and magical doors. Their journey is filled with curveballs and mythical creature intent on killing them. The group ends up getting divided, mistrust surrounds them, and Tracker cannot help but question why he decided to find this boy and who he can trust to help him complete his mission.
To be fair, it took awhile for me to get into the book but after the first 70 pages it was smooth sailing. I think with the numerous characters and interwoven storylines of each character is becomes a bit hard to keep track of who is who. In true Marlon James’ fashion the book is filled with very graphic scenes both sexually and in the description of how persons died. If you can push through these scenes without your stomach turning, then you are good to go.
Honestly, Marlon James did not disappoint with his first installation of the Dark Star Trilogy. I was kept guessing the entire time. I cannot wait for the next installation in this series. I am hoping this series makes it to the big screen, I want to see these characters come to life. This is a must read for me!
Full review on www.bookofcinz.com
Stand aside, Beowulf. There’s a new epic hero slashing his way into our hearts, and we may never get all the blood off our hands.
Marlon James is a Jamaican-born writer who won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” his blazing novel about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley. Now, James is clear-cutting space for a whole new kingdom. “Black Leopard, Red Wolf,” the first spectacular volume of a planned trilogy, rises up from the mists of time, glistening like viscera. James has spun an African fantasy as vibrant, complex and haunting as any Western mythology, and nobody who survives reading this book will ever forget it. That thunder you hear is the jealous rage of Olympian gods.
“We tell stories to live,” says Tracker, the indefatigable narrator, who tells a lot of stories but doesn’t let many people live. When the novel opens, Tracker is rotting in a dungeon where he recently stabbed, crushed and blinded his five cellmates. They had it coming — or most of them did — and in any case, it’s a perfect introduction to. . . .
To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post: