The Tuareg: Blue Man of the Sahara
Fleur Caldwell, an orphaned Virginia belle, is sent to live with an estranged uncle in London in 1828. Unbeknownst to her, the uncle is a heartless slave trader. After arranging to be his niece’s heir, the uncle arranges for Fleur’s disappearance. By introducing Fleur to Gregoire, a mysterious employee, the uncle hopes that she will instantly fall in love with the handsome Frenchman and join him on his dangerous assignment: Gregoire must travel deep into Africa to curry favor with the Slave King, by using Fleur as a gift. It’s a plan that goes quickly awry, as their ship to Africa is wrecked in a storm. Fleur and Gregoire survive, and she succumbs to his seduction as they struggle to find their way to safety. After they are separated, a powerful man of a Tuareg tribe saves Fleur from certain death, and she succumbs to him, too. Fleur later runs away, only to be captured anew by slave traders. Meanwhile, Gregoire meets the Tuareg leader and they become friends as they set out to find their mutual lover. They discover her at the palace in Algiers—only for her to be sold into slavery yet again. This time, her freedom comes at a great price.
Though the story is written with great passion, and the author has done considerable research on African tribes, languages and customs, this book falters on very fundamental writing issues. The characters—particularly Fleur—are one-dimensional, the dialogue is stilted, and there is little real emotional development of the relationships that are central to the plot. Unfortunately, these issues make The Tuareg a very difficult read.