Sunday, December 6, 2009
Book Review of Hannibal's Elephant Girl by Ariion Kathleen Brindley
In 218 BCE, Hannibal took his army, along with 37 elephants, over the Alps to attack the Romans. Eleven years before this historic event, on the banks of a river near Carthage in North Africa, one of his elephants pulled a drowning girl from the turbulent waters. Thus began Liada's epic journey with the elephant known as Obolus.
Hannibal's Elephant Girl is set around 229 BC, when Hannibal was a young military commander, still living under the shadow of his father Commander Hamilcar Barcar and starting to win the respect of the troops. While Hannibal is a central character in the book, the story revolves around young Liada, after she is rescued from the river by the elephant named Obolus. Though Liada suffers from trauma-induced amnesia, she befriends the people around her and builds a new life.
The story is told from Liada's point of view as she makes sense of her surroundings. Yzebel, a kindly woman who runs one of the soldiers' eateries, takes Liada in. As Liada finds a home with Yzebel and her surly son Jabnet, you get a sense of Liada's sense of humor and responsibility. Liada's openness and industriousness wins her the friendship and respect of others in the community, including Bostar, the local baker, gentle Tendao, a priest's apprentice and Yzebel's son, the weavers, and Tin Tin Ban Sunia, a young slave girl who has stopped speaking. Liada and Yzebel rescue Tin Tin Ban Sunia from her cruel master, but make dangerous enemies.
Hannibal's Elephant Girl is an absorbing and heartwarming read. The characters are sympathetic and interesting. The plot is complex and has some unusual twists. I thoroughly enjoyed Hannibal's Elephant Girl and highly recommend it for young boys and girls alike.
Publisher: CreateSpace (June 16, 2009), 370 pages.
Review copy provided by the author.
Thank you, Ariion Kathleen Brindley, for this review opportunity!