Monday, March 11, 2024

The Black Crescent by Jane Johnson

A captivating historical novel set in post-war Casablanca about a young man marked by djinns who must decide where his loyalties lie as the fight for Moroccan independence erupts.

Hamou Badi is born in a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains with the markings of the zouhry on his hands. In Morocco, the zouhry is a figure of legend, a child of both humans and djinns, capable of finding treasure, lost objects, and even water in the worst of droughts. But when young Hamou finds the body of a murdered woman, his life is forever changed.

Haunted by this unsolved murder and driven by the desire to do good in the world, Hamou leaves his village for Casablanca to become an officer of the law under the French Protectorate.

But Casablanca is not the shining beacon of modernity he was expecting. The forcible exile of Morocco’s sultan by the French sparks a nationalist uprising led by violent dissident groups, none so fearsome as the Black Crescent. Torn between his heritage and his employers, Hamou will be caught in the crossfire.

The lines between right and wrong, past and future, the old world and the new, are not as clear as the magical lines on his palms. And as the danger grows, Hamou is forced to choose between all he knows and all he loves.

Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 5, 2024
 by Simon & Schuster
3.5/5 stars

Author notes are a favorite way to end a read, especially when it comes to historical fiction.  Such is the case here.  I did not know the family ties Jane Johnson has to Morocco and her motivation for writing this book. "I love to learn when I write fiction, and I hope readers will enjoy learning alongside me."

The Black Crescent is a descriptive read of Morocco in the 1950s. Beginning as Hamou discovers the body of a murdered woman this story that comes full circle many, many, many years later. The fight for independence is violent, citizens turn against each other and Hamou has decisions to make.

The Black Crescent was an informative read with its vivid images of what Casablanca went through, the lifestyle and loyalty. It is well researched, definitely showing the authors passion for the story.

My thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for a print arc in exchange for a honest review. 
It is now available in all formats

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