The Eden Hunter
Kau is a pygmy, sold into slavery after a vengeful attack upon his village by the neighboring Kesa tribe. The Eden Hunter begins in 1816, with his escape from the American innkeeper to whom he’s been sold. Kau heads into a series of violent wilderness adventures as he travels from Mississippi to Florida, hoping to find freedom in a land similar to his lost African home. Though he was once passed off as a child by the slavers, Kau is a ferocious adult who can kill as proficiently as any “ordinary” sized man. Kau means “Leopard” in his native tongue, and like the leopard, this tortured runaway prefers his own company. His travels through the south take him among various warring groups – white, black, and red men. Though eschewing friendship, Kau unwillingly becomes caught up in their struggles, eventually taking part in the last stand of a garrison manned by escaped slaves. These slaves, recruited by the British for the War of 1812, have been abandoned in a fort along the Apalachicola River. Allowing runaway slaves to remain free is not an intolerable state of affairs to the Americans who have begun to invade Florida.
The Eden Hunter is a literary novel, frequently bloody and disturbing, occasionally intercut with flashes of great beauty. These lyrical moments are almost invariably descriptions of the untouched natural world through which Kau journeys as he searches for a land which might at last bring healing to his broken heart.