Home of Sword and Soul
Saddle up and get ready to ride with the Savaad brothers on a tour of America as it might have looked in a crazed reflection from the twin funhouse mirrors of magic and alternate history,
Fantastic America, as I like to call it, is an as-yet undeclared sub-genre of fantasy, “pioneered” (pun intended) by the efforts of Orson Scott Card through his Alvin Maker stories. Milton J.Davis adds a little more “soul” to the genre (yes, intentional again) with his latest literary effort, the first book in what promises to be a trilogy concerning the adventures of the Savaad brothers, the scholarly Samoht, the roguish Vel, and their stolid, stoic senior sibling Naheem, as they deal with present problems and perils from the past that threaten their future and that of their loved ones and clan in a mythical magical version of the great western continent that has very little in common, including the faces and traces of the races that dwell there, with the United States of America of our world and its northern and southern neighbors.
The thumbnail synopsis is that Samoht and Vel are forced to go on a journey of discovery to The Motherland, this world’s African continent where their people originated. The reasons for their expedition-under-duress are both political but in different ways. Samoht did a little tomb-raiding, seeking a valuable artifact in the sacred ruins of an enemy nation while Vel made the mistake of killing the husband of the woman he had been seducing and now the family of the deceased want his head and/or other body parts as part of their blood-price.
Elder brother Naheem, as head of the clan, has to deal with both these situations and figures the best way to achieve a more-or-less peaceful resolution, is to pack off his brothers out of the country while he deals with the messes they’ve made. Every family has at least one skeleton in the closet. The Savaad brothers discover during the journey that their clan heritage has a literal graveyard of hidden history that rattles all their cherished beliefs about their family and their people.
What none of the brothers suspect is that what first seems to be a simple solution to keep a simmering political pot from boiling over has grave consequences for their clan’s view of their own cultural history and their view of the world as the Savaads learn of the “debt” their clan owes for its place and power in the western world.
Davis, the author of several other novels available at the Wagadu website, “the home of soul-and-sorcery” as the site’s creators and administrators proclaim with pride, presents his tale of Fantastic America in a simple, spare storytelling style reminiscent of Hemingway. It may seem like a quick and easy read, but there is much to think about in these pages and it is time well spent in the discovery.