The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson ff. Sometimes this book seemed to me to be an early twentieth-century translation of a recently unearthed work of Homer. (“. . .hardly did dawn extend a rosy finger to caress the sky before . . . .” ) Like Odysseus, the hero Demane, a demigod and a sorcerer, embarks on a treacherous journey, but not for home (set out of reach somewhere in the skies) but for loot in Olorum City, which lies on the other side of Mother of Waters. Beside the road from Mother of Waters Station to Olorum are the perilous Wildeeps, inhabited by a larger-than-life monster, the green jook-touthed tiger known as the jukiere. Very scary; I mean it –you do not want to meet this beast.
All of the characters are men except for Auntie, who is ever present in Demane’s mind, and as far as I can tell they are also all African. Demane and another demigod, Captain, are discreetly in love; the intensity of their passion is deftly conveyed through brief touches, the use of a forbidden first name, and the rare erotic memory.
Fighting provides plenty of opportunity for valor. The prose is an amazing lush baroque. Captain, rescuing some comrades “swooped in, with the same acts dealing death and deliverance. The point edge of his spear opened red lips in one bandit’s throat. Lifesblood emptied from the new mouth, while the other bandit took the same blow’s downstroke, which cored his heart.”
Demane has a true superpower and it is his sense of smell. I would love to see this story make it to the big or little screen, but somehow it would lack something with only sound and sight. Smells dominate many scenes
I found the ambiguous ending intriguing. The reader will doubtless be tuning in for the sequel.