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The Call of Zulina: Book One in Grace in Africa [Kindle Edition]

Kay Marshall Strom
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Historical Fiction
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Book Description

The Grace in Africa series is a sweeping three-part historical saga of slavery and freedom that takes the reader from an island off the west coast of Africa to Southern plantations and finally on to Canada. All her life, Grace Winslow, the daughter of a mixed marriage between an English sea captain and an African princess, has been sheltered from the truth about the family business--the capture and trade of slaves.

Set in 1787 in West Africa, The Call of Zulina opens as the scorching harmattan winds blow. Desperate to avoid marriage to an odious suitor, Grace escapes the family compound only to be caught up in a slave revolt at the fortress of Zulina. Soon, she begins to grasp the brutality and ferocity of the family business. Held for ransom, viciously maimed by a runaway slave, and threatened with death, Grace is finally jerked into reality and comes to sympathize with the plight of the captives. She admires their strength and courage and is genuinely moved by the African Cabeto’s passion, determination, and willingness to sacrifice anything, including his own life, for his people’s freedom.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Strom, evangelical Christian author of 34 books and an activist against modern slavery, takes an indirect approach to calling attention to that issue with her newest fiction title, the first of three planned in the Grace in Africa series, set in West Africa in 1787. Strom's protagonist, Grace Winslow, the daughter of an English sea captain and an African princess, aligns herself with her father's slaves. Young adult Grace is promised in marriage to a pompous, offensive white man and even Grace's mother (who endured the same fate, having been forced to marry for political reasons) colludes with Grace's father in this scheme. Grace, realizing she is just as much a slave as her full African counterparts, runs away and discovers a new life and a better reason for living. She also has her eyes opened to the atrocities that have surrounded her for years. Strom's fictional account of the battle at the fortress of Zulina between the slaves and their masters is mostly believable, though some of the dialogue sounds a bit stilted. Strom does succeed in capturing how utterly reprehensible any form of slavery is, past or present. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Of Kay Marshall Strom’s 39 published books, four have been book club selections, nine have been translated into foreign languages, and one has been optioned for a movie. Her writing credits also include the Grace in Africa Series and the Blessings in India series. Her writing has appeared in several volumes, including More Than Conquerors, Amazing Love, The NIV Couple's Devotional Bible and The NIV Women's Devotional Bible, and The Bible for Today's Christian Woman. Her best-known book is Once Blind: The Life of John Newton, which is packaged with the recently released DVD Amazing Grace. She also has written several books with her husband, Dan Kline. Kay is a partner in Kline, Strom International, Inc., leaders in communication training. She currently lives in Eugene, Oregon. Learn more about Kay at

Product Details

  • File Size: 488 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1426700695
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press; Original edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,192 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made for the Big Screen March 9, 2010
I've been a fan of Kay Marshall Strom's work since reading Once Blind, her novelization of John Newton's life from slave trader to abolitionist (think "Amazing Grace.") Regardless of whether you read Strom's works of fiction or non-fiction, her heart for freedom, justice, and the respect of persons from all nations shines through.
In The Call of Zulina, the first in a new series of historical fiction --Grace in Africa -- Strom transports us to Africa in the late 1700s.

Grace Winslow is the daughter of an English sea captain and African princess, caught between two cultures and living a sheltered life. Having come to age largely unaware of her family's involvement in the slave trade and its harsh realities, Grace encounters it first hand at the slave fortress Zulina, following her escape from the family compound and an odious betrothal.

Swept into the midst of a desperate slave rebellion, Grace finds herself forced to confront both the tragedies of the slave trade in Africa, the complicity of her mother and other Africans, and her own unknowing contribution to the plight of her new companions. Strom's writing is vivid and irresistible. The pacing is excellent, and, like Grace, I found myself inexorably pulled along by the action swirling around me as I read.

Some of the moments of high-drama seem a bit clichéd, but that sense of no-turning-back choices and intense declarations lend the book a big-screen movie production feel; I'd love to see this title appear on the big screen. Likewise, some of Strom's characters seem a bit too typecast. Grace's mother, for example, is pure evil, willing to sacrifice her child without a moment's thought for her own purposes.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far exceded my expectations!! December 18, 2010
By Rachel
I found this book to be very hard to put down! The plot is so unique and different than anything else I've ever read. Usually books about African slaves are after they have been taken on the slave ships to other countries, this was a unique plot because it takes place in Africa. Although some parts were a little difficult to follow I throughly enjoyed it. This is not a predictable book and the "surprise" elements really did come as a surprise to me. I wasn't expecting this to be such a good book and I was impressed. I can't wait to start the sequal!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slavery Made Real December 7, 2009
I usually take a new book with me when I travel by air. In most cases, I'm able to read going and coming. I usually reserve my flight book just for flying and airport-waiting time. This last flight was different.

I started reading The Call of Zulina after I settled in my seat and I kept reading after arriving at my destination. The story and characters were so engaging I couldn't wait for the return flight to finish.

Kay Marshall Strom's story is somewhat based on fact - a white slave-trader married to an African. That in of itself makes a compelling reason to read the book of eighteenth-century slave trade in West African. It is, however, their daughter Grace who is the focus of the story.

Grace is the couple's only child and is raised to be a proper English lady. Her life changes dramatically when her father promises her in marriage as part of a business arrangement.

When Grace runs away from the marriage, and from her home, she learns the truth behind her father's wealth and her mother's anger. Thrown suddenly into the world of kidnapped natives as an African, Grace is respected by some of the captives because of her attempts to help them. Others distrust her because she's their capturer's daughter.

The Call of Zulina is the first in the Grace in Africa trilogy. This series is more than a good story. Ms. Storm is attempting to use story telling to shine a light on the continued problem of slavery.

She notes on her website ([...]) that although its been more than 200 years since the first anti-slavery law was passed, it continues under nicer names of sex trafficking, human trafficking, bonded labor, or child labor. Ms. Strom says, " . . . today slavery is against the law in every country of the world.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just didn't click for me August 9, 2010
By Michele
I wanted to like this book - #1 because it is Christian fiction (which I favor), and #2 because the setting (18th century Africa) is a unique one that I know very little about. However, at about 70 pages in I realized that the book just wasn't holding my interest or clicking for me.

One of the main problems with this book for me, was the relationship between Grace's parents; it was so full of hatred, disrespect and humiliation that it made no sense to me why these two people were even married or why they stayed together. Finally at about page 60 the author explained how they had ended up married, so it made a little more sense. But even then, the character of Grace's mother was just too extreme to be believable. She was so full of hatred and bitterness and anger and pride that she was inhuman. That she hated her white husband and the marriage she never wanted I could understand; but that she could be so hateful and cruel to her own daughter -- just because she was half-white -- and could be so heartless to her own black people was too much. The author mentions in her acknowledgments that she based Grace's parents on an actual couple; surely the real-life woman wasn't as evil as the fictional Lingongo? With her ever-present whip that she didn't hesitate to use on anyone -- whether it be her husband or a black slave child -- she came across like an over-the-top Disney villainess rather than a realistic and believable character.

I think primarily, the reason I couldn't stick with this book is because it felt like reading a series of disconnected scenes. The narrative was often somewhat confusing, in a dreamlike sort of way. And some of the characters' actions weren't convincing: for example, Grace's decision to run away seemed too casual, too off-hand.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful series. great history.
Published 6 months ago by Jan MacInnis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good
Published 9 months ago by Joyce A. Friesen
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting theme
I really enjoyed this book and will read the next one. It was an area of historical fiction that I had not previously read. It was well written with interesting characters. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Rosanna Lopez
1.0 out of 5 stars Disjointed and Unreal
The premise of the book was good; however, the development was more than lacking. The story got my attention at the very beginning, but quickly lost it when the main character's... Read more
Published 12 months ago by K. Shelby
3.0 out of 5 stars Driven by External Plot
I am interested in books about slavery and this premise was original and intriguing.The author did her research well. I was quickly drawn into the time period and African setting. Read more
Published on April 25, 2013 by Haley Whitehall
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
I didn't think I'd like this but it was really good. The story line was interesting and kept my attention. I'd recommend it.
Published on February 11, 2013 by Beth Heiney
3.0 out of 5 stars Has Potential, but Needs More Work
I did finish the book, but it didn't hold my interest very well. The plot was confusing in many areas, and it was not captivating. The characters didn't seem real to me. Read more
Published on January 20, 2013 by Ashley
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't put down read
Didn't want to put the book down once I started. Would recommend to everyone. You won't be disappointed, I promise.
Published on January 17, 2013 by H. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Most unusual top but that is good.
A little violent for me and I did not think I would like the topic, but I did. Kept my interest all the way through.
Published on January 17, 2013 by Melani Adkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooks you right off
I got this book free for my Kindle. Oops.. I wound up finishing it then buying book 2 then book 3. This is a fantastic series. Read more
Published on December 11, 2012 by S. Edwards
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More About the Author

I am a writer and speaker who loves learning about the world. And what better way to learn than to travel? My dear husband puts up with me... even accompanies me on occasion.

Of course, the more I learn, the more I want to write. And then I want to jump up on my soapbox and share all my insights and ideas.

For years I've been known as a writer of non-fiction. That's still true, but I am also having the time of my life writing fiction. Sometimes there is no better way to share a passion than through a rollicking good story! I just finished writing one historical trilogy, "Grace in Africa," (Book 1: The Call of Zulina, Book 2: The Voyage of Promise, Book 3: The Triumph of Grace). Now I'm working on the next series, "Blessings in India." What fun! It's like eating my chocolate dessert when I haven't finished my broccoli!

Come, explore the world with me. Together we'll strive to make it a better place.

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