Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review - The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff

Jeb, a former slave, rescues his brother-in-law Crispus from the Ku Klux Klan, pulling him into a world of Creole Voodoo, hatred, time travel, and redemption. The two brothers-in-law set out to stop Verdiss and his Klan followers from using the Pharaoh's Staff, a magical artifact from ancient Egypt. Soon, Jeb and Crispus learn Verdiss’ diabolical plan and discover that he is working for an even more evil force. In the end Jeb and Crispus must stop the eradication of an entire people and each must find redemption for his own past sins.

3 stars

The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff takes place in a period of history that I'm not overly familiar with (though admittedly there are a lot of those), post Civil War Reconstruction.  The main character, Jeb, is a former slave who fought for the North after his plantation was freed during the war.  He was a quality soldier who unfortunately carries some severe mental scars from his time in the war.  Married to a woman from Haiti with a daughter and living on a small parcel of land in Louisiana is not the easiest thing for a recently freed black man.  Especially when your brother-in-law is a huge trouble maker who is always in trouble with the law and often stirring up the people who support the old policies of the South.

The book also deals with another topic that I am not really all that familiar with, Voodoo.  Now my very limited "knowledge" of Voodoo comes from an episode of Bones that I have seen a few times.  The only thing that really did was make a few of the terms a little bit familiar to me.  I found the Voodoo aspect of the book to be very interesting especially considering who is using the spells.  There is also a bit of a time ripple that takes place in the book that adds a pretty unique twist.

The reason I only went with three stars is actually tough to explain, the idea of the book was pretty interesting.  It really just didn't draw me in as much as I would have liked.  I've never really liked reading in accents and there is a bit of that in this book from the Haitian characters.  I also had a bit of difficulty understanding the motivation of one of the major bad guys, he had a bit of a conflict of interest and it made it confusing to me why he did what he did (I know it's confusing but saying more would be a pretty major spoiler).

So there are plenty of reasons to check this book out especially if you interested in reading stories involving Voodoo or from the post Civil War era.  

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