The Emperor's Son

Vamba Sherif’s The Emperor’s Son tells the story of Zaiwulo, a young boy sent off to the ancient city of Musadu to study under Talata, a great scholar and head of the legendary Haidarah family. The boy soon notices that there is more to the story of his presence among the Haidarahs, and as he grows older and becomes a soldier fighting alongside Emperor Samori whom the French nicknamed “the Black Napoleon”, his resolve to unravel the mysteries of his childhood propels him into an adventure that leads him back home in the forests where there awaits a revelation with far-reaching consequences.





$ 25.00 USD

Praise and reviews

Vamba Sherif’s, The Emperor’s Son is a captivating narrative about tumultuous wars and doomed alliances that is as rich in fervor as it is imaginative in reconstructing the adventurous life and times of the fabled Mande emperor, Samori Touré. In this beautifully wrought book, Sherif creates characters—imbued with the full range of human strengths and failings—who inhabit and take us along on heart-stopping journeys of life and death

Momoh Sekou Dudu, author of Harrowing December

The Emperor's Son is lush, immediate and brilliantly conceived. Vamba's prose challenges both writers and readers of world literature to be more thoughtful, more generous, more true to themselves

Wayétu Moore, author of She Would be King

The Emperor’s Son is a bold, richly imagined and ambitious piece of historical fiction, drawing on a number of fascinating factual events to produce an evocative portrayal of a vibrant, prosperous West African empire in the nineteenth century at the cusp of the French and English colonial invasions. The region’s cultures, traditions and their economic and political civilizations are powerfully rendered through clear themes of war, love, loss, family, identity, abandonment and sacrifice, while the life and exploits of your protagonist provide a compelling central focus for your plot. The women, particularly Ma-Sona, Massah, Sarankenyi and Naminata were a strong force and they, along with Demba and Talata were memorable characters amongst a diverse and colourful cast

Vimbai Shire

About the author

Vamba Sherif is a novelist, essayist, speaker, book and film critic. He’s a lecturer in African Literature at Leiden University. His work has appeared in many languages, including Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, and the Indian Malayalam. He has also published essays, stories, film reviews, columns and opinion pieces in The New York Times, the German Kulturaustausch, African Writing, Trouw, Volkskrant, NRC and ZAM-Magazine, among many others. With Ebissé Rouw, he compiled Black: Afro-European literature in the Netherlands and Belgium, a unique anthology of Afro-European experience in the Low Countries. About his work the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung wrote: 'Vamba Sherif creates whirlpools of Shakespearean intensity

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