Akimbo can't believe his luck when his father allows him to visit his uncle Peter's snake park. And when a local village calls to report a sighting of a green mamba snake--the rarest and most deadly one of all--Akimbo hopes to help his uncle catch it for the park. But little does he expect to find himself trapped face to face with the deadliest of reptiles. Bestselling novelist Alexander McCall Smith brings the majesty and dangers of Africa to life in this vividly imagined adventure for young readers. (recommended for ages 7-9)
This debut novel from the author of the powerful, universally acclaimed "Foreign Gods, Inc." looks at a woman's drowning and the ensuing investigation in an emerging African nation. In the country of Madia (based in part on Ndibe's native Nigeria) a young prostitute runs into the sea and drowns. The last man who spoke to her, the "madman" Bukuru, is asked to account for her last moments. When his testimony implicates the Madian armed forces, Bukuru is arrested and charged with her death. At the first day of trial, Bukuru, acting as his own attorney, counters these charges with allegations of his own, speaking not only of government complicity in a series of violent assaults and killings, but telling the court that the president of Madia himself is guilty of rape and murder. The incident is hushed up, and Bukuru is sent back to prison, where he will likely meet his end. But a young journalist manages to visit him, and together they journey through decades of history that illuminate Bukuru's life, and that of the entire nation. A brave and powerful work of fiction, "Arrows of Rain" is a brilliant dramatization of the complex factors behind the near-collapse of a nation from one of the most exciting novelists writing today.