BLACK SANDS by Manuel Godoy

BLACK SANDS

The Seven Kingdoms
by , illustrated by
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This graphic novel collects the first three installments of young prince Ausar’s adventures in ancient Kemet.

Human civilization is 1,000 years old, and nations fight over finite resources as strange gods called “ancients” look on. Prince Ausar is the grandson of Rah, the current pharaoh of ancient Kemet. Ausar spent five years honing his impressive strength and speed under Rah, but the boy still has an impetuous streak. One day, the god and mentor Tehuti brings Ausar and several other powerful young royals—including Ausar’s sister, Auset, who can control weather and other aspects of nature; Seth, who can manipulate sand and other people’s perceptions; and Nehbet, who’s skilled in deception—to visit King Apedemak’s court in Kush. Ausar is eager to test his mettle against Kush’s son, Prince Bes, so they duel in the courtyard. Rah drilled a desire for battlefield perfection into Ausar, which pushes him to use a powerful move called “Soul Enforcement Mountain Strike.” The maneuver causes damage to the city and earns him a reprimand from his father, Geb, who wants him to be less like Rah. Meanwhile, sea monsters have begun destroying ships along the coast of Cyprus. Sobek, the god of crocodiles, warns Auset of this development and of an “aura of change” that follows the children. It turns out that war is brewing between Greece, Minoa, and other nations—including Kemet. In this richly illustrated collection, author Godoy (Cosmic Girls, 2019) and artist Lenormand (Mori’s Family Adventures: Rio de Janeiro, 2018) focus on aspects of early African and Middle Eastern history. Three adventure sequences are separated by informative sections that helpfully explain the mythology behind the characters and Godoy’s and Lenormand’s major changes; the Annunaki deities of ancient Sumer, for example, are from the planet Nibiru in this version of the tale. The sleek designs throughout offer a smooth reading experience that brings to mind Japanese manga. The characters have realistically varying skin tones; Seth has vitilligo, rendered with accuracy. The adventure will continue in a forthcoming installment.

A sure bet for young readers who may be cultivating interests in ancient history.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-9994734-8-1
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Black Sands Entertainment
Program: Kirkus Indie
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