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Customer Discussions > Historical Fiction forum

African history

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Initial post: Jan 18, 2012, 4:54:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 19, 2012, 2:46:55 PM PST
I am currently writing a novel on BC Ethiopia, but am not here to plug that, rest assured.

Rather, I'm looking for recommendations of historical fiction set in Africa. Any period.

Some of my favourites to date are:

The Egyptian: A Novel (Rediscovered Classics), Mika Waltari
The Abyssinian: A Novel, Jean-Christophe Rufin
The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel (P.S.), Barbara Kingslover
Makeda, Prue Sobers

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Those more recently published preferred.

Thanks, all.


Posted on Jan 19, 2012, 6:55:40 AM PST
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
The Legate's Daughter by Wallace Breem

Posted on Jan 19, 2012, 2:44:10 PM PST
Thanks Mary, your sugestions look terrific. Think I will start with Cutting for Stone.

Posted on Jan 20, 2012, 4:04:38 PM PST
C says:
I'll second cutting for stone.

Posted on Jan 22, 2012, 2:26:46 PM PST
Have just picked it up, thanks C.

Posted on Aug 25, 2014, 1:31:39 PM PDT
Sara Diamond says:
Segu (1987), and The Children of Segu (1989), both by Maryse Conde - a Francophone Caribbean writer. The two books are translated into English and available thru Amazon.

About Maryse Conde: Born as Maryse Boucolon at Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, she was the youngest of eight children. After having graduated from high school, she was sent to Lycée Fénelon and Sorbonne in Paris, where she majored in English. In 1959, she married Mamadou Condé, a Guinean actor. After graduating, she taught in Guinea, Ghana and Senegal. In 1981, she divorced, but the following year married Richard Philcox, English language translator of most of her novels. In 1985 Condé was awarded the Fulbright scholarship to teach in the US and is now a professor at Columbia University in New York City. In addition to her writings, Condé had a distinguished academic career. In 2004 she retired from Columbia University as Professor Emerita of French. She had previously taught at the University of California, Berkeley, UCLA, the Sorbonne, The University of Virginia, and the University of Nanterre.

Segu: The year is 1797, and the kingdom of Segu is flourishing, fed by the wealth of its noblemen and the power of its warriors. The people of Segu, the Bambara, are guided by their griots and priests; their lives are ruled by the elements. But even their soothsayers can only hint at the changes to come, for the battle of the soul of Africa has begun. From the east comes a new religion, Islam, and from the West, the slave trade.
Segu follows the life of Dousika Traore, the king's most trusted advisor, and his four sons, whose fates embody the forces tearing at the fabric of the nation. There is Tiekoro, who renounces his people's religion and embraces Islam; Siga, who defends tradition, but becomes a merchant; Naba, who is kidnapped by slave traders; and Malobali, who becomes a mercenary and halfhearted Christian. Based on actual events, Segu transports the reader to a fascinating time in history, capturing the earthy spirituality, religious fervor, and violent nature of a people and a growing nation trying to cope with jihads, national rivalries, racism, amid the vagaries of commerce.

Children of Sugu: Sequel to Guadeloupan author Conde's highly praised Segu , this historical novel trudges through the 19th-century tribal wars, Islamic conquest and French occupation of the African kingdom of Segu, situated on the Niger River in what is now Mali. The many characters here, identified by their kinship bonds, flank themselves around the heirs of the Traore family, nobles formerly close to the throne. Now cousins Muhammad and Olubunmi are caught in the jihad waged by the fanatical El-Hadj Omar, whose son Amadou eventually rules Segu. Conde trains close attention on the tenets of Islam and the local animistic religion it displaces before shifting the action to Jamaica, where Christians from Segu seek refuge. But the bloody Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 dashes their hopes. Returning to Africa, the saga focuses on devout Omar and his young wife, Kadija, the next generation of Traores, as the Segu resist the French.
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Discussion in:  Historical Fiction forum
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Initial post:  Jan 18, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 25, 2014

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