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Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Cover of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
The Dark Star Trilogy, Book 1
FINALIST FOR THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

The New York Times Bestseller
Named a Best Book of 2019 by The Wall Street Journal, TIME, NPR, GQ, Vogue, and The Washington Post

"A fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made." —Neil Gaiman
"Gripping, action-packed....The literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

The epic novel, an African Game of Thrones, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings
In the stunning first novel in Marlon James's Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.
As Tracker follows the boy's scent—from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers—he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?
Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that's come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.
FINALIST FOR THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

The New York Times Bestseller
Named a Best Book of 2019 by The Wall Street Journal, TIME, NPR, GQ, Vogue, and The Washington Post

"A fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made." —Neil Gaiman
"Gripping, action-packed....The literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

The epic novel, an African Game of Thrones, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings
In the stunning first novel in Marlon James's Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.
As Tracker follows the boy's scent—from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers—he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?
Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that's come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.
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  • From the cover ONE

    The child is dead. There is nothing left to know.
    I hear there is a queen in the south who kills the man who brings her bad news. So when I give word of the boy's death, do I write my own death with it? Truth eats lies just as the crocodile eats the moon, and yet my witness is the same today as it will be tomorrow. No, I did not kill him. Though I may have wanted him dead. Craved for it the way a glutton craves goat flesh. Oh, to draw a bow and fire it through his black heart and watch it explode black blood, and to watch his eyes for when they stop blinking, when they look but stop seeing, and to listen for his voice croaking and hear his chest heave in a death rattle saying, Look, my wretched spirit leaves this most wretched of bodies, and to smile at such tidings and dance at such a loss. Yes, I glut at the conceit of it. But no, I did not kill him.
    Bi oju ri enu a pam o.
    Not everything the eye sees should be spoken by the mouth.
    This cell is larger than the one before. I smell the dried blood of executed men; I hear their ghosts still screaming. Your bread carries weevils, and your water carries the piss of ten and two guards and the goat they fuck for sport. Shall I give you a story?
    I am just a man who some have called a wolf. The child is dead. I know the old woman brings you different news. Call him murderer, she says. Even though my only sorrow is that I did not kill her. The redheaded one said the child's head was infested with devils. If you believe in devils. I believe in bad blood. You look like a man who has never shed blood. And yet blood sticks between your fingers. A boy you circumcised, a young girl too small for your big . . . Look how that thrills you. Look at you.
    I will give you a story.
    It begins with a Leopard. And a witch.
    Grand Inquisitor. Fetish priest.
    No, you will not call for the guards.
    My mouth might say too much before they club it shut.
    Regard yourself. A man with two hundred cows who delights in a patch of boy skin and the koo of a girl who should be no man's woman. Because that is what you seek, is it not? A dark little thing that cannot be found in thirty sacks of gold or two hundred cows or two hundred wives. Something that you have lost—no, it was taken from you. That light, you see it and you want it—not light from the sun, or from the thunder god in the night sky, but light with no blemish, light in a boy who has no knowledge of women, a girl you bought for marriage, not because you need a wife, for you have two hun- dred cows, but a wife you can tear open, because you search for it in holes, black holes, wet holes, undergrown holes for the light that vampires look for, and you will have it, you will dress it up in ceremony, circumcision for the boy, consummation for the girl, and when they shed blood, and spit, and sperm and piss you leave it all on your skin, to go to the iroko tree and use any hole you find.
    The child is dead, and so is everyone.
    I walked for days, through swarms of flies in the Blood Swamp and skin- slicing rocks in salt plains, through day and night. I walked as far south as Omororo and did not know or care. Men detained me as a beggar, took me for a thief, tortured me as a traitor, and when news of the dead child reached your kingdom, arrested me as a murderer. Did you know there were five men in my cell? Four nights ago. The scarf around my neck belongs to the only man who left on two feet. He might even see from his right eye again one day.
    The other four. Make record as I have said it.
    Old men say night is a fool. It will not judge, but whatever comes it will not warn. The first came for my bed. I woke up...
About the Author-
  • Marlon James was born in Jamaica in 1970. He is the author of the New York Times-bestseller Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction in 2019. His novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, and the Minnesota Book Award. It was also a New York Times Notable Book. James is also the author of The Book of Night Women, which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction and an NAACP Image Award. His first novel, John Crow's Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and was a New York Times Editors' Choice. James divides his time between Minnesota and New York.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine This African-inspired epic fantasy becomes an immersive experience as told by Dion Graham, whose deep-voiced narration makes listeners feel like they are walking in the shoes of the protagonist. Tracker's powerful sense of smell leads him through dangerous cities and wild lands in pursuit of a child he has been hired to find. He has lovable and loathsome allies who help, but many others seek the child for harmful purposes. Tracker himself isn't sure of what he will do when he finds the child. At times, Graham's raspy timbre resembles a growl, which works perfectly for Tracker. Overall, Graham's rich character voices and accents, as well as his singing ability, will leave listeners itching for the next volume. L.E. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Black Leopard, Red Wolf
The Dark Star Trilogy, Book 1
Marlon James
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