What I love about Mike Resnick, among other things, is his non-pretentious prose style. He doesn’t write like he has a dictionary out to look up the fanciest words for saying everything in an attempt to impress you. Instead, he just finds the right words to tell the story. So you don’t need to read his books with a dictionary next to you either, and his books work for readers of all ages.
This book, one of several inspired by his love of and travels through Africa, is the story of Duncan Rojas and Bukoba Mandanka and the tusks of the Kilimanjaro Elephant, the largest to ever exist.
Rojas, a researcher for Braxton’s Records of Big Game, is hired by Mandaka, the last living Masaai, to find the tusks which he believes are the secret to his people’s lost power. While he won’t explain why he needs them, he is paying handsomely, and Rojas cannot resist a good mystery.
As he researches the tusks with the help of his trusty computer, Rojas learns the stories of various people and aliens who have possessed them over time. The tusks have quite a colorful history, as does the elephant himself, and the stories are fascinating and rich with characters, world building, history and solid plotting.
The chapters run long, something I myself am guilty of, but that’s because each chapter contains a historical story and a section about Rojas’ research in the present as he learns the history.
In the end, the story raises powerful questions about tradition, faith, and mythology. As is typical of Resnick, the conclusion leaves us to provide our own answers, and there is certainly a lot to think about which resonates with you long after the book has been closed.
A not to be missed, rich story. Thoroughly enjoyable and compelling. For what it’s worth…