One of TIME's 100 Best Fantasy Books of All TimeWinner of the L.A. Times Ray Bradbury Prize 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 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.
- ISBN-13: 9780735220171
- ISBN-10: 0735220174
- Publisher: Riverhead Books
- Publish Date: February 2019
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Page Count: 640
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
BookPage starred review, February 2019
A novel that truly defies all efforts of categorization is a rare thing. When his Dark Star Trilogy was announced, Marlon James’ new genre endeavor was dubbed a kind of “African Game of Thrones,” an epic saga that merged history and fantasy into something new. The first volume in the trilogy—Black Leopard, Red Wolf—has arrived, and even that rather enticing description doesn’t do it justice. James has once again delivered something that must be read to be believed, a majestic novel full of unforgettable characters, gorgeous prose and vivid adventures.
Tracker, James’ narrator, is a man without a true name, a man who seems to walk in the margins of society after a difficult childhood turned him into a loner. Still, he is renowned for his “nose,” the ability to search for and find lost things with uncanny skill, and so he is called into service to search for a vanished boy. To find the boy, he must also attempt a rare collaboration, teaming up with a strange band of characters, among them a shapeshifter known as Leopard. As the hunt begins and Tracker tells his tale, he must explore not only the significance of the boy he’s searching for but also the nature of truth itself.
Tracker’s voice—rendered in visceral, evocative prose—is immediately seductive, from his colorful use of profanity to the way he describes not just what happens to him but also how the perception of it all can shift in a moment. It’s the kind of voice that can carry you anywhere, and James puts it to good use, propelling the reader forward into an African fantasy landscape that rivals the greatest sword-and-sorcery storytellers in the history of the genre. The ambition is familiar, but the places James takes us are not, and that’s an irresistible combination.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf heralds the arrival of one of fantasy’s next great sagas and reaffirms James as one of the greatest storytellers of his generation.