I tend towards non-fiction books about Africa, perhaps to excess. I do read the occasional novel about Africa and usually enjoy them, but I was skeptical when I picked up Mark of the Lion
by Suzanne Arruda, as I was initially put off by some of the more quirky period language in the book. However, as soon as I got a few pages into the story, I quickly ignored it.
The story follows Jade del Cameron, a particularly adventurous woman for the time period near the end of World War I. An American, she volunteered to serve in France as an ambulance driver in the war, before going to colonial East Africa to write magazine articles about Kenya
and the exotic goings on there.
It doesn’t take long before Jade is embroiled in mystery and danger in Nairobi and Tsavo stemming from a promise she made to a dying soldier. Jade holds her own in the frontier atmosphere and the author paints a vivid picture of the era of Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa. Readers will find rich descriptions of the very early days of safari as they become immersed in Jade’s adventures.
While some of the plot can seem predictable, Arruda weaves a story that keeps the reader interested, if not occasionally on the edge of their seat. The book is the first in a series, so if you enjoy it, there is the promise of more.