The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
Continuing my reading of this author's works.
This is set in an
alternative history where the 18/19 century Haitain slave rebellion's
reach was much greater impacting the whole Caribbean, but the US civil
war continued and a free and independent New Orleans was created.
is here that street kid "Creeper" comes into possession of some
important and sellable information about the whereabouts of a kidnapped
Haitian scientist who invented a new and terrible weapon "The Black
God's Drums" and who is now in the hands of a smuggler who is making a
deal to hand him over with Confederates.
Whereas in A Dead Djinn in Cairo and The Haunting of Tram Car 015
PDC interwove Arabic culture and folklore here he uses Yoruba dieties
from Nigeria to infuse spirit into his female lead characters who carry
the goddess Oya and Oshun's within them as per his dedication on the
book's opening page "To those who survived the crossing, and who carried
their Black gods with them". It is this melding of cultures that
appeals to me in his work.
I loved the character of teenager
Creeper, strong with the spirit of Oya the goddess of wind, streetwise,
knows what she wants - to see the world. The information she uncoveres
about the scientist offers her a means of becoming crew on the famous
airship Midnight Robber whose captain is also endowed with the spirit of
Oshun the goddess of water. How these two women save scientist, stop
the use of the weapon and save the day for New Orleans and the world is a
classic story but the scene where the goddesses come into action is
well done and highly visual.
The audible version is read by a
naarator called Channie Waites who does a great job making PDC's often
weird sentance structures transform into a vibrant dialect and thus his
characters become real and leap of the page with life, particular
Just like in his Cairo works PDC creates a novel
landscape in which to play out his story. Not great literature but
another great piece of rollicking good storytelling.
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There's a fine interview with the author about this novella at https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/interview-p-djeli-clark/ReplyDelete