A novel about life in the time immediately before the arrival of the Atlantic slavers. Two lovers meet for the first time. One is the son of a king, struggling to find his place in the world, the other is the gifted daughter of a master craftsman from a famous but secretive tribe...
'A magical take on Africa before the arrival of the Atlantic slave ships – a world of art and artists, lovers, storytellers and philosophers... The beauty of Okri's prose is [...] the overwhelming star of the show' Independent
'This is a story of a people on the eve of catastrophe. Others can tell of the catastrophe itself. I want to see the people in the last days of their innocence.' Ben Okri
By a riverbank in Africa, two lovers meet for the first time. They make a promise to meet again the next day, same time, same place, but only one of them shows up. This sounds like the beginning of a love story, but it's more than that, for this breath-taking tale takes the reader into the heart of a vibrant world, a complex and intriguing civilisation of warriors and kings, philosophers and artists, parents and lovers. A world and culture which is about to end, for glimpsed on the horizon, seen but unsuspected, beautiful ships with white sails are waiting...
First published as Starbook in 2007, Ben Okri has spent many years rewriting this epic novel, set just before the arrival of the Atlantic slave trade. He has sought to bring to it a greater simplicity, to make the political and historical implications of the story clearer. Now titled The Last Gift of the Master Artists, this is a work still more dazzling and unforgettable, and more relevant to our world than ever before.
Praise for Ben Okri:
'Ben Okri is that rare thing, a literary and social visionary, a writer for whom all three – literature, culture and vision – are profoundly interwoven' Ali Smith