The King of Kahel

by Tierno Monénembo, Nicholas Elliott

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Tags: Set in Guinea Male author

The King of Kahel

The story is loosely inspired by the life of Olivier de Sanderval, who, intent on becoming an explorer for most of his life, finally set sale for Africa in 1879 after turning 40. As Monenembo tells it, once there he recruits a crew of Senegalese infantrymen and travels to Fouta Djallon, a land he desperately wants to rule. He learns local customs that will aid him in his quest to govern. During the following years of conquests and re-conquests, Sanderval never loses his taste for European luxury and moves between Africa and France, where he publishes books on his experience and struggles to command Fouta. Eventually, he returns to Fouta with his grown son, Georges, to find war raging between locals and the French army, finally extinguishing his lifelong dream.

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