The year is 1797, and the kingdom of Segu is flourishing, fed by the wealth of its noblemen and the power of its warriors. The people of Segu, the Bambara, are guided by their griots and priests; their lives are ruled by the elements. But even their soothsayers can only hint at the changes to come, for the battle of the soul of Africa has begun. From the east comes a new religion, Islam, and from the West, the slave trade.
Segu follows the life of Dousika Traore, the king's most trusted advisor, and his four sons, whose fates embody the forces tearing at the fabric of the nation. There is Tiekoro, who renounces his people's religion and embraces Islam; Siga, who defends tradition, but becomes a merchant; Naba, who is kidnapped by slave traders; and Malobali, who becomes a mercenary and halfhearted Christian.
Based on actual events, Segu transports the reader to a fascinating time in history, capturing the earthy spirituality, religious fervor, and violent nature of a people and a growing nation trying to cope with jihads, national rivalries, racism, amid the vagaries of commerce.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - TerrisGrimes - LibraryThing
This is one of my all time favorite books. Fiction excels at letting us feel history. None does it better than Segu. From Amazon.com: "The year is 1797, and the kingdom of Segu is flourishing, fed by ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - booksofcolor - LibraryThing
This is a big ticket novel of breadth across several generations of a family (from Segu, natch) which tackles just about every experience of the late 18th early 19th century in the kingdom of Segu and ... Read full review