Zululand Snow by Ian Tennent

zs - outside covers.inddSource: Mischief Managed
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

While Zululand reels under the blows of a lunatic’s hammer, half-hearted schoolboy Craig’s imagination ignites when he links an Anglo-Zulu War letter his grandfather bequeathed him, to his History teacher’s mesmerising tale of the lost inKatha, ‘The Soul of the Zulu Nation’.
However, in his feverish quest to find the relic he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events which disturbs the dark equilibrium of forces in his hometown; forces both past and present, and steeped in malice.
As chance encounters with his History teacher become alarmingly more frequent, events explode when the boys clash with caddies from the local golf-course, the malevolent greenkeeper makes a sinister threat and the finger of suspicion drifts towards a friend’s father when the lunatic’s hammer falls once again.

Set in a small town in Zululand during the turbulent summer of 1983, Zululand Snow is the tale of a boy searching for a way to bring a glorious past back to life. It’s a tale of history and imagination, of folklore and legend, and the gravitational pull they exert on the marrow in a boy’s bones.

What a great book! I’ve just closed it a few minutes ago, so the closing passages are still running around in my head.

The experience begins right from the first sentence, which I give you here:


Up ahead, bullet-grey clouds muscled in from the east, flexing their knuckles like giant fists spoiling for a fight.


Just that there is one of the many gems sprinkled through this book that give one pause for thought. I loved some of Tennent’s similes and metaphors.

Boyhood adventure gets mixed with Zulu superstition and beliefs in this fantastic tale of the search for the Inkatha Yesizwe, “The Soul of the Zulu Nation”. I loved the way that half way through the book one’s scratching one’s head as to how various elements could possibly add up, and at the end of the story it’s all neatly tied up with bows on top and one can rest easy. But oh, the shenanigans those boys got up to! Makes me remember life as a child in the Eastern Cape, which at times could be very similar – heading off into the veld without a care in the world. Just as a child’s life should be!

Very well written, and vivid, Tennent doesn’t spare one the harshness of circumstances back in the time when this was set (I’m aiming for 1980s/90s, I imagine), but nevertheless he imbues the story with adventure, danger, excitement and the thrill of the chase. A fabulous read that I’ll be recommending around, for sure!

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