Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review - The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff by Lane Heymont

A story mixed with history and magic

This novel hits on some wonderful and very intricate ideas, settings and plot elements. Opening during the years of Reconstruction in Louisiana with elements of voodoo within the culture, around 1870, the characters of Jeb and Crispus live a very claustrophobic life, not accepted by wider society, encountering the Klan who want to lynch just about any black person and some whites who are friendly but from arms length. Also tied up in the plot are Federal soldiers. The Klan is technically illegal, and the novel contains very graphic depictions of lynching and cruelty.

Crispus steals a map from the Klan which leads to an ancient Egyptian relic known as the Pharaoh's Staff. A general with the Federal troops learns about the search for the Pharaoh's staff and knows the person opening The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Jeb and Cripus end up going to New York where they encounter white people who are as they describe them "ruder" but not as "cruel". There they meet the general's acquaintance who leads them further to finding out the nature of the Pharoaoh's Staff.

Fast forward to the future of the 1940s and Nazi Germany has developed a time machine with which they send an agent named Zelig back in time to also search for the Pharaoh's Staff.

Voodoo, Nazi's and the occupied South make this a fun and thrilling, speculative fiction adventure which lacked only in some details about the settings that kept the story from being truly vibrant.

LINK: The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff by Lane Heymont
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