Unlike so many fantasy novels, Black Leopard, Red Wolf isn’t a tale of swords, dragons or wizards. A refreshing entry into a genre that has been overfed by the myths of Western and Northern Europe, Marlon James’ fourth novel is an epic that draws on the tropes, character types and narrative renderings of African mythology and true history. It’s an ambitious and sprawling story of heroism, evil, betrayal and redemption, written in prose imaginative enough that for the first 100 pages or so, readers may feel unsettled. But as the story comes into focus, James immerses us in a world so dynamic and full it leaves the “real” world feeling gray and mundane by comparison.
Buy now: Black Leopard, Red Wolf