Zulu Heart by Steven Barnes
Book two in the series, this is a second look into an America where Africa conquered the world, and enslaved the whites. I don’t know enough about African culture to know how much of what I know and what I read is true and how much is just stereotyping. But that didn’t deaden my enjoyment of this story.
In this episode, Kai has grown up a little more and has to deal with the death of his uncle, father, and older brother. Aidan has his freedom and has built a home for himself and his family along with a number of other freedmen. But in order to stop a war, Aidan has to go back into slavery to help his childhood friend Kai.
That was what I struggled with the most in this book. Why would Aidan, even for the love of a childhood friend, be willing to go back into slavery? Many other characters asked him the same question, often many times. I, along with them was not totally convinced by the answer he gave.
A lot of the book felt like it was re-running episodes in US history, only with the skin color changed of the primary participants. It got me very interested in both African history and history from the Civil War era.
But the real strength of this book is the way I was sucked into thinking about the characters. After the first few pages, I never gave a thought to the color of the skins and instead was cheering and dismayed for everyone. This is a book that will make anyone take a long look at the US culture and how it was built on slavery and really start questioning it.