It is the year 698 AD where the Arabs have invaded a place in North-West Africa, a place called Carthage. Itri, a Christian, 10-year-old boy was captured by the Arabs and sold into slavery along with his mother and father, after he witnessed his mother’s genitals being mutilated and both his father and him were physically emasculated. Hundreds of Dioceses have been killed by the Arabs. They were brutally treated by the family that took them into slavery. There was one kind person from the Arab family and that was their daughter of similar age. One day she snuck him out the window and they both made a decision to run away together.

They hid and continued moving until one day they met other Christians who were building up a mass of people to fight against the Arabs. As the years have gone by, Itri learns to fight and all this while his love for Laila increases. She loves him back too, but can they really have a relationship when there is so much conflict and revolt amongst the Arabs and Christians, with cultures and religion clashes. Itri avoids killing and tries to keep his religious ethics and morals intact. Laila stands by his side through it all, never once giving up that they would one day be together as husband and wife even though the penalty will be death.

Although this story is been set between the 7th and 8th century AD, it is very prevalent to what is happening right now around the world. I do not know the history of this era, but, if anything, nothing has changed and history lessons have not taught us anything. We are still faced with the wars of religion and cultural clashes and things have not gotten better but people have found better ways to fight and die for what they believe in.

This book has stirred about a lot of controversial topics for me, from colonisation, racism, religion, gender equality and other oppressions; topics that I am constantly working on, making people aware of different points of views and creating a conversation with the intention of coming to an understanding in a [hopefully] peaceful way, to produce a balance on this earth. From that aspect I would say, this book is right up my alley and it would be a great conversation striker, highlighting what is so wrong with people being dogmatic and supporting authoritarianism and other inhumane followings. Those that create these wars do not realise that there are civilians and innocent people that are jammed in the middle being sacrificed as collateral damage to their unruly acts.

This is the author's debut Novelette. Unfortunately for me the book did not appeal to my grammatical policing personality and found that the actions described in this book to be somewhat far-fetched and skitter-ish at times. Celenic Earth Publications did put a disclaimer in the book, regarding the maintenance of the author's style of writing, but it is not the type of writing that I would enjoy again anytime in the future. Though this book was a whole 66 page long, I did find it to be draggy and had a lack of enthusiasm. I did enjoy the little splurges of light-hearted humor, which gave the story a slight lift. I also did like the action scenes every now and then.


Pragashnie Naidoo