Excerpt from Zulu Heart by Steven Barnes, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Zulu Heart

by Steven Barnes

Zulu Heart
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2003, 480 pages
    Feb 2004, 660 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

His mate Lamiya lay sunning on the hardwood deck with their daughters, Aliyah and Azinza. Lamiya herself was descended from the Afar people on the shore of Lake Abbe in Old Djibouti. A single aged servant, Yohela, had accompanied her on this trip, yet her hair, braided and beaded into the intricate patterns typical of the Afar, never bore the same configuration two days in a row. Four years Kai's senior, Lamiya was in both face and form the most elegantly sensual woman Kai had ever known, and he had adored her since childhood.

Beside her, the small ones waved their pudgy brown arms in his direction, giggling. Azinza, a plump little fireball, had seen four summers, two more than Aliyah. Azinza was adopted, being the daughter of Kai's late uncle Malik. But despite the different circumstances of their birth, the girls couldn't have been closer had they been twins.

As always, the sight of his family filled his heart with joy, but there also remained a trace of regret. Kai loved the water's warm embrace, its ability to challenge his body's endurance and strength. Its potential to wash away sins.

Below the waves lay a world entire, a world more innocent and honest than that above. One he would have shared with his wife, but could not–Lamiya was no child of ocean or lake. Her forays into water were confined to the bath. In fact, except for considerable skills as a horsewoman, Lamiya was more a creature of politics and etiquette than physical exertions.

"Time for another dive?" Kai called.

"Just a few more minutes," his beloved replied. "We'll have dinner ashore."

"Are you sure you wouldn't like to come in? Yohela could watch the children." He arched his eyebrows at her flirtatiously.

She laughed tolerantly, resisting the lure. "Perhaps later, Kai, and closer in to shore."

"I won't let you drown."

"The ocean may have its own plans." She gazed up at the Sea Horse's sails. "A good wind. Will Elenya's ship be on time?"

"If wind fails, her captain will stoke the boiler." He wrinkled his face at her.

She settled back down with Aliyah. "Wave to your abbabba."

"Abbabba!" the infant screeched, grinning hugely.

Kai waved back, and then dove, once again seeking the sleek gray masters of the deep. It was they who would attend the voiceless, shattered ships, who might comfort the ghosts of long-drowned sailors. His finned companions' flat black eyes knew him for who and what he was, yet still they accepted him, agreed to be his confessors.

Silently in the depths, they communed.

  • 1
  • 2

Copyright © 2003 by Steven Barnes

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.