by Michael Williams
Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014. 400 pp.Young Adult
Set in contemporary Zimbabwe, Patson Moyo and his family travel to the district of the Marange diamond fields, where his father is to take up a teaching position at the local high school. Only after they arrive, do they realize that the school is closed and both Patson and his father are forced to work the diamond mine operated by a less than sympathetic relative. Thus starts a fantastic story about a young man trying to find his fortune and help his family to survive an unstable, corrupt and violent world. This story has drama, tragedy, humor, hope and adventure in equal measure. As with YA fiction in general, the story moves with a quick tempo making this a real page turner. I particularly enjoyed this story as it is set in a time and place rarely explored in fiction, making it particularly fresh. The author incorporates details about the often brutal realities of life in Africa without a lot of pedantic information dumps while still presenting the characters as human beings struggling with their circumstances. I would recommend this book to just about anyone, teen or adult.