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Imaro Paperback – February 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597800368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597800365
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mixing quasi history and legend, Saunders's episodic heroic fantasy, first published in 1981 and now greatly revised, introduces Imaro, a black African in the heroic mold of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian. Set in the sub-Saharan equivalent of Howard's imaginary Hyborea, this origin story, the first in a projected five-volume series, tells how Imaro (who seems to run afoul of sorcerers as readily as Howard's barbarian did) is falsely accused at the conclusion of his manhood rite, exiled from his tribe and transformed into an embittered, homicidal wanderer in a landscape of savage beasts and savage men, yet retains, as such heroes usually do, a certain chivalrous decency. The unusual setting more than makes up for the routine plot. Saunders alone has appreciated the potential of Africa as a backdrop for heroic fantasy. (Mar.)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
I look forward to reading the next installment in the series.
Brandon Scott Pilcher
Averall Imaro is an entertaining read and must for anyone interested in larger-than-life fantasy.
Scott Masterton
Not only is the setting fascinating, but Charles R. Saunders is a great story teller.
Bartosz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Scott Masterton VINE VOICE on December 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Imaro by Charles Saunders fills a big hole in the world of Fantasy.

In Imaro Saunders brings to life a true, archetypal African hero. This could quite possibly be the first of its kind in western literature and it is long overdue. Imaro is an outcast, born to a mother cut loose from her tribe. She returns her young son to his tribe for warrior training. Though the boy is mistreated he grows to be the greatest warrior in a tribe filled with great warriors. He is treachorously cast out again from his people and Imaro faces lions, crocodiles, magic and madness in his wandering quest.

The novel is basically a series of short stories (put together in true Bob Howard fashion), but Saunders does a splendid job of weaving the stories seamlessly together. Though violent, this is an important book. Modern fantasy is seriously void of archetypal black characters that are strong, moral and have real love interests. Imaro is the inner warrior that has been written about by countless authors: Tarzan, Doc Savage, Conan, etc. However, this character is African. A man that young black males can see looks like them.

Averall Imaro is an entertaining read and must for anyone interested in larger-than-life fantasy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Diaz on October 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have been fascinated by Africa since a child. I watched every movie and documentary I could and read what few fictional books there were as well as the non-fiction. For the longest time I never really minded that there were no black heroes in these as I was transposing myself there anyway. However as I grew older I felt that lack finally. I had a good appreciation at this point for African culture and wanted to be inside looking out in my stories.

Then Imaro appeared.

Now I had my African hero to follow, and best of all it was in my favorite fictional genre! Also Mr. Saunders was will to show Africa in all her glory: with the proud Ilyassi, heroic warriors and grand landscapes. And with all her warts as well: tribal warfare, genocide, slavery. All that went on in Africa in her past and sadly going on today but it never detracts from that glory and richness. Imaro himself is a hero that can be both noble and cruel (as need calls), much like his home continent, and just as indomitable. In Imaro Saunders has also a "living" symbol of his ancestoral homeland that is also above so much that makes it a land of todays suffering: A man with no tribe, thus all of Nyumbani is home. If only...

I don't know if Saunders meant such to happen. He says he simply wanted a fantasy placed in a fiction representative of his ancestoral homeland, with a uniquely African hero, but it's how its turned out for me.

Beside being a great sword and sorcery tale, "Imaro" is a window into what could be if only more tried their hand at other such non-Western heroes. Franky I'd like some decent versions of such these days!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read it about ten years ago , so i'm a little fuzzy on the plot , I do remeber it being a great rite of passage story as the young Imaro progressed into manhood battling dark and evil magics, and a race of African Giants. At one point he is enslaved by the giants. The best stuff to compare the Imaro books to is Robert E. Howard's Conan series. Imaro is unabashedly a Black Conan with a flavor and vitality all his own in a richly described setting. It's too bad that the books were never reprinted because they are extremely good and deserve to be available to a wider audience.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a good one! So far, Saunders has written three Imaro books. Each is better than the last. He's also written short stories of a Dahomean Amazon warrior for the series "Sword & Sorceress", edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Saunders is one of the four real writers of African descent in the S/F-Fantasy realm; I wanna see more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Scott Pilcher on October 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of not many fantasy novels with a world based on pre-colonial Africa instead of medieval Europe or Asia. That alone made it very interesting for me to read. Saunders shows off a rich knowledge of African culture, particularly that of the Masai (on whom Imaro's home culture is based). It's also fun reading in the way Robert E. Howard's Conan stories were. Finally, I loved how Tanisha, Imaro's love interest, was very dark-skinned, which goes against the tradition of making the attractive black female lead lighter-skinned.

I look forward to reading the next installment in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. K. Gaston on March 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Imaro's mother surrendered her five year old son so that he could become a great warrior of the Ilyassai tribe. His mother's people treated him with disdain and ridicule. Through it all, Imaro grew to be the biggest and strongest of the Ilyassai children. When he reached manhood and the time had come for him to truly become an Ilyassai warrior and be accepted by his mother's people, an evil magician strip him of that reward, spiraling Imaro's life into a world of slavery, murderous thieves, and black magic.

Charles R. Saunders takes the reader through an Africa untainted by Europeans influences, whose history is quite different than the one we have always known. Imaro is to become a great warrior in a world he doesn't feel he is a part of. Through his adventures, Imaro becomes a threat to enemies who work within the shadows and manipulates the weak willed and innocent to do their bidding. Imaro soon realizes if he is to survive, he must take the battle directly to the evil that plagues him.

Imaro is a must read novel and is the first book in a series. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the sequels and continuing with the further adventures of Imaro.

The Friday House
Xiii
Lost Hours
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