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Publisher's Summary

Saunders' novel fuses the narrative style of fantasy fiction with a pre-colonial, alternate Africa. Inspired by and directly addresses the alienation of growing up an African American fan of science fiction and fantasy, which to this day remains a very ethnically homogonous genre. It addresses this both structurally (via its unique setting) and thematically (via its alienated, tribeless hero-protagonist). The tribal tensions and histories presented in this fantasy novel reflect actual African tribal histories and tensions, and provide a unique perspective to current and recent conflicts in Africa, particularly the Rwandan genocide and the ongoing conflict in The Sudan.
©2006 Charles Saunders (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Saunders alone has appreciated the potential of Africa as a backdrop for heroic fantasy." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Troy on 10-12-17

Sword & Sorcery in Fantasy Africa

I finally read this Africanized sword & sorcery tale (or, "Sword & Soul" tale, if you will). Here's the bullet points:

• Capable if not overly-impressive writing that sometimes gets mired in the protagonist's semi-believable viewpoint. I'm pretty sure I would like these stories better if the main character's ideas were more hidden and more time was spent on dialogue and description/atmosphere.

• Cool enemies that felt part Lovecraftian, part African folklore, and all demon. Honestly, these were by far my favorite bits of the stories. The best was a kind of equally gross and voluptuous many-breasted hippo demon who wants to "love" the hero to death beneath the waters of its pool.

• A heavy Burroughsian influence, to the story's detriment I think. Men fall into three camps: the mighty-thewed and invincible protagonist, yes-men, and traitors. Women are of a single type: voluptuous, clever, slavishly devoted, and generally either capable, victims, or invisible as the plot and their hero-lord-husband needs them to be.

• I don't know if I can expertly speak to the Africanized nature of this, but my impression is that a) it does a great job of incorporating African tropes, but b) they feel like Westernized versions - not like an insider treatment. That's just my impression.

I should add that the novel is from a collection of stories written in the 1970's and the author is an African American currently living in Canada.

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By June on 08-09-17

Awesome Story.... Imaro please be a movie!

Saunders wrote the Imaro stories not only to give fantasy ‘a black character that matters’, but to also have the kind of stories he wanted to read himself – a worthy motivation that has led to the creation of some great works of fantasy. 

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