Relations between Africans and Europeans in the days of Queen Victoria are explored in this intense and unusual historical novel based on the life of Ja Ja, powerful African leader from the area which is now Nigeria. Believed to be the incarnation of the Great Crocodile, Ja Ja consolidated his power, dealt with traders, and even aided the forces of the British Queen before being banished unjustly by the British government. Then he directed that his son be raised a Christian. The quarrel one might find with this book is that the characters and motivations of the major Europeans are uniformly nasty. No doubt this was true, but young readers reading of historic wrongs need an articulate conscience. However, Ja Ja is an attractive and admirable figure, the character of the half-caste missionary Belliver is a most skillful medium for explaining the pull of Christianity, and the setting rings true.