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The Eyes of the Sea: Twins of Telluria, Book I Paperback – November 3, 2016
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I was drawn to this book because of its exotic African setting, the mix of culture, folklore, tribal custom and politics during the 1970s. It was easy to be engaged with the seaside community of outcasts living on the edge of an African village governed by a vain and wily old chief, an evil and unscrupulous witchdoctor, and a rich and powerful pig farmer and his grasping wife and son.
The outcasts are a close-knit and benevolent community, united by their nonconformity that separates them from the conventional people of the village. I came to love Malaam, the sensitive and steadfast leper, and Fanya, the healer, whose love for Sharduk, a handsome sea-being from another universe, brings forth twins – a boy and a girl – whose unique powers are magnified in the sea and whose epic destiny they themselves can scarcely imagine.
Sharduk invites his twin children, and the reader, into another world with a rich and complex history, culture, technology, and politics. At the center of its culture and history is a set of twins whose accomplishments raised them to legendary status.
The twins of Sharduk and Fanya are also fated to fulfill a role in their father’s world, a universe that provides fertile ground for a sequel, or maybe even a series of books.
The Eyes of the Sea has been translated from Spanish and is available in English for the first time. I was enthralled with the charm of the African landscape and with the complexity of Sharduk’s universe, and I was thoroughly absorbed by the attractive and sympathetic protagonists struggling against a rapacious village Establishment.
The Eyes of the Sea is a savvy futuristic fantasy crossed with vibrant modern Africa. It is classy, witty, and insightful, steeped in rich details and woven with breathtaking heart. Tello blends the magic traditions of African animism with notions of advanced technology and space-warping portals between planets.
Tello's unconventional storytelling also honors the oral traditions of Africa, weaving The Eyes of the Sea through both prose and tales expressed in dialogue. His colorful imagery made Cameroon came alive, and the strange traveler's stories about his world are vivid and flush with detail.
This book captures the raw spirit of Africa, probing the history of a plundered continent, the savage violence of warring nations, mistrust and the resilient kindness of people to whom life has not been kind. But Tello's work is a human story most of all - of love and loss, hope and pain, generosity and deceit, ambition and resourcefulness. The Eyes of the Sea is a true testament to the courage of the human heart.