The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney
Set in Louisiana in the early years of the eighteenth century, Savage Lands is the story of Elisabeth Savaret, a young girl despatched to the colony from Paris as one of a cargo of young women sent out to become wives for the colonists, and Auguste Guichard, a soldier who has grown up among the natives.
The life of the nascent French colony - little more than a huddle of wooden shacks built beside a swamp - is vividly evoked in Clare Clark's dense, exquisitely turned prose.
It's a style that makes considerable demands of the reader, forcing him to look beneath the surface of the narrative to interrogate the behaviour of the characters. But it's an effort that is richly rewarded for this is an emotionally powerful and deeply affecting moving novel