Written in a fashion which recalls Clavell's Shogun, this is a tale of an English sailor's adventure in deepest Africa during the early years of European colonization. Lost on the shores of Portuguese Africa, our hero finds himself first impressed into the service of the European masters of this land -- later establishing himself in the local colonial community. But the real highlight of this book occurs when he finds himself trapped in the back country where he becomes a servant to a savage cannibal king whom the Europeans and other native peoples live in fear of. Sliding into the very savagery of the people who adopt him, he becomes one of them and lives, for a time, the life of barbarism & adventure their rough existence decrees -- leading their armies into grim and bloody battles and partaking in their bloody and gruesome feasts. In the end this man finds his European self again and manages to make his escape from his adopted kinsmen, returning to England with a mulatto wife to live in retirement and write his memoirs.
It's not clear if this story was based on or elaborated from real events but it reads like it could have been. I read it years ago and so am a little cold on some of the details but thought, then as well as now, that it was a worthy contribution to the kind of literature which Shogun exemplified -- though it's not quite as compelling. --- SWM author of The King of Vinland's Saga
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About the reviewer
Stuart W. Mirsky (swmirsky)
I'm a retired bureaucrat (having served, most recently, as an Assistant Commissioner in amunicipal agency in a major Northeastern American city). In 2002 I took an early retirement to pursue a lifelong … more
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