Blood and Ink
By: Stephen Davies
“My mission is simple.
Descend the dune. Cross the wadi. Scale the wall. Smite the enemy." -Ali
“They stand and bow and kneel down, just like we do. They touch their foreheads on the sand, just like we do. Do they ever doubt themselves, these boys?” –Kadi
When Ali and Kadi meet, it's hate at first sight.
Kadi is the daughter of a librarian in modern-day Timbuktu. A lover of music and literature, she will one day become a guardian of an ancient manuscript collection.
Ali is the son of shepherds and has been conscripted by the Defenders of Faith, an arm of Al Qaeda. He helps to overthrow Timbuktu and impose a strict Islamic state. The town’s citizens face many abuses as their way of life changes overnight.
By circumstance, the two teenagers are thrown together. As they get to know more about each other, both let their guards down. But when Ali discovers the secret vault where Kadi’s family keeps their sacred manuscripts, he reports the discovery to his commander. Kadi is forced to risk a smuggling operation to save the manuscripts from destruction. Once her life is in danger, finally Ali must decide where his loyalties lie.
Part thriller, part love story, this exciting drama takes place in the midst of true-to-life events in Mali in 2012.
Author & Illustrator Bios:Stephen Davies, author
Stephen Davies lived among the Fulani herders in West Africa as a missionary for thirteen years, one of the poorest regions of the world. He was written picture books, middle grade and YA, all of which have been set in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
Awards & Honors:
Ali and Kadija have nearly opposite views of how to live their faiths and cultures, but as their worlds collide, they are drawn to each other in this ambitious novel narrated by both teens in alternating chapters. Ali, a native of Mali, is a soldier with the Defenders of Faith when they take over Timbuktu, using AK-47s to control the locals, who resist with marches, cunning, and song. Kadija sings in a musical band and is in line to inherit a position as a Guardian of Timbuktu's priceless treasure: thousands of ancient manuscripts revered by the local Sufi population. When Ali is stationed on Kadi's street as a guard, the ideological battle over the soul of Timbuktu becomes personal. Ali attempts to guide Kadi, while Kadi seeks to lure him out from under the influence of Redbeard, the real-life Arab leader of the Defenders. After Ali discovers the secret vault that houses the manuscripts, Kadi must save the manuscripts from destruction by the Defenders. While the chemistry between Ali and Kadi feels somewhat forced, the high-stakes action and believable setting details will likely keep readers tuned in. Their present-tense narrations alternate, interspersed with transcripts from the manuscripts. Based on true events in Mali in 2012, Davies' novel offers villains to hate, protagonists to feel for, and a nuanced glimpse into a rich Muslim culture and society.
ISBN: 978-1-63289-642-1 EPUB
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.
Ages: 14 and up
Page count: 352
5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 8. Standards 0-0, 0, 0, 00
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 9. Standards 0, 0, 0, 0, 00
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