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Timbuktu Chronicles: Aida and the Chosen Soldier Paperback – May 3, 2010
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In 1310 AD, in the Mali Empire, a soldier is forced to team up with a witch in order to battle some super villains from this world and from another. To succeed in their mission for the emperor, they have to solve certain riddles, which means travelling across the empire to find the answers. In the process they are constantly harassed by all sorts of assassins and killers. Can the soldier use his mastery of the sword to help save the empire? Or will he succumb to a deadly female assassin who seems simply to enjoy killing and destruction? Is the witch's magic enough to save herself, the soldier and the empire, or would she succumb to the High Wizard of Tera-Hoole who will do anything to please the Dark Widow?
While the story itself is intriguing, with unpredictable twists and turns, some (especially younger readers), might find the writing style just a little bit much for them. At some points, it reads like a 19th century English novel, with eloquently constructed sentences and some fairly richly crafted dialogue. However, the dazzling action sequences often do a great job of keeping the reader focused and distracted from the sometimes difficult language.
The book is fairly well written, with the tension building up as the pages go by. This is a fairly different kind of African novel. I've read some African novels in school, such as Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, but this one is more like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and seems simply to entertain, with no political undertones or messages (at least none that I could tell). Is it a super great read? Perhaps not. It is a good and entertaining read? Definitely.