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The Headhunter's Daughter
The Headhunter's Daughter by Tamar Myers
by Tamar Myers

In 1945 in the jungles of the Belgian Congo, a Bashilele tribesman on a quest to claim an enemy head finds an infant in the gravel pits.  These gravel pits have been haunted since a white woman drowned there.  The pits claim lives.  Despite the infant's white skin and blue eyes, the tribesmen brings the baby back to the tribe.  After hearing stories of white girl living among the Bashilele, missionary Amanda Brown takes Captain Pierre Jardin and Cripple to investigate the strange stories.  Thirteen years after she was found, the maturing girl now named "Ugly Eyes", returns to the civilization from which she was taken.  After spending years among the Bashilele, the attempt to rectify the kidnapping causes more problems.  Not only is she lost among her new home, but the story about her birth and kidnapping threaten to unravel dangerous secrets.

In THE HEADHUNTER'S DAUGHTER, Tamar Myers delves deeper into unique cast of characters first introduced in THE WITCH DOCTOR'S WIFE.  The author takes the reader deep into the ethos of pre-independence Belgian Congo and the racial, economic, religious and social tensions beneath the surface of daily life.  The mystery keeps a reader guessing. Even as one follows the trail of clues to solution, the intricacy of the mystery and the discoveries along the way leaves a sense of satisfaction once revealed.  THE HEADHUNTER'S DAUGHTER is so much more than a clever mystery.  The author's insights into the culture add both depth and humor.  The author's poetic prose is a delight to read.  The cast of character's is delightful from the refreshingly innocent but insightful Amanda Brown to the more conniving Cripple.

THE HEADHUNTER'S DAUGHTER is best read after having read the previous book, THE WITCH DOCTOR'S WIFE.  One simply must read them in order to get the full effect of Cripple's character, Amanda's revelation and to understand some of the interrelationships at work.  Both books are highly recommended.   An author interview accompanies the text at the end to facilitate book club discussions.  The interviewer's constant mention and veering away from touchy subjects (which will not be all that touchy to most adult readers) is annoying but the author's discussion adds additional insights into the culture and book.  If you find the interviewer grating, just skim her comments while stopping to enjoy the author's responses.  The author's parents were missionaries in the Belgian Congo.  The author certainly uses her history and knowledge to create a rich character in missionary Amanda Brown, a woman who is not afraid to look inside to find her way rather than depend on strict church protocol. 
THE HEADHUNTER'S DAUGHTER will appeal to those with a religious background and also those who shy away from organized religion.   While the book would certainly make a great choice for stimulating church bookclub discussions, the story in and of itself is a historical mystery rather than an inspirational novel.  Tamar Myers is an excellent storyteller.

Publisher:  William Morrow (January 25, 2011)
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