Review: “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” by Marlon James


Release Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Series: Dark Star Trilogy #1
Genre: Fantasy


Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?” (via Goodreads)

My Thoughts


The basic story is this: a man known only as Tracker, and several of his acquaintances and enemies, are hired to find a boy. The boy is missing (or not) and may be dead (or not). Of the hired group, there are those wish to find the boy, those who plan to kill him, and those who want him to remain missing. Some are human, some witches, some mercenaries, and some are magical beings. Who is the boy? What happened to him? What was really going on? Is Tracker lying? What if he’s really telling the truth?

But the plot isn’t really the plot. Finding the boy provides the skeleton, but the muscles, blood, and heat come from everything that happens along the way. This is no stroll through a dreamland of fairies and pixie dust. James drags us through a nightmare world of shapeshifters, witches, mermaids, mad scientists, cannibals, vampires, giants, sadistic slavers, selfish monarchs, and a sentient buffalo.

Read the rest of my review at
Thanks to Riverhead Books for sending me a review copy.

Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or borrow it from your public library.

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