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4.26  ·  Rating details ·  536 ratings  ·  25 reviews
From the international bestselling author of THE MASK OF TIME, THE ORIGINAL SIN and THE SEVENTH MOON comes an enchanting novel of late 19th Century Africa.

Intelligent, charming and handsome, Jean-Patrice has Paris at his feet. But when he embarks on a passionate affair with the beautiful wife of a superior, his brilliant career in the Civil Service goes south.

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Paperback, 330 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Thistle Books (first published August 20th 2011)
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 ·  536 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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1899, Jean-Patrice has been naughty in Paris and like many others is sent off to darkest Africa to escape the shame. He is 27, handsome, intelligent and with a dry wit. He is fascinated by Darwinism.
JP arrives at his posting in remote Gabon where his predecessor dies within moments of his arrival. It does not take long to see that JP is a nice guy and he soon finds the most beautiful woman in the village and falls hopelessly in love.
There are some good bits in the book covering the views of the
Jenny Potts
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful novel. Right from page one, we know we're in masterful hands: atmospheric evocation of place, tight structure, perfect pace. Sensuality, adventure, romance, philosophy, eloquence, education. Ballistics! So, so fascinating to be among the vaccinations and the flora, the fauna, the Fang of Gabon. I loved particularly Jean Patrice's tussle with evolution and Catherine's lesson in 'just enough'. (A total tart for metaphors, I squirmed with delight at the cargo ships suckling in the ...more
S, Buckingham
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A complete departure to the other novels I have read by Marius Gabriel. This is a clever, historic tale, that takes the reader on an unusual journey. A great read and I would recommend to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Frances Smythe
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have just finished this book and absolutely loved it. It was a bit of a departure for me as I would not necessarily chose to read a book described as "historical fiction" but I wanted to challenge myself and having read reviews was so glad I did. However, as well as historical fiction, you really cannot ignore the BEAUTIFUL LOVE STORY that runs throughout the book as well as the development of the relationship with Chloe which is more than charming! This is another wonderful story by Marius ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was fascinated by this book. The author’s skill with descriptions and visuals is astounding. I felt the ship, felt the heat of the African sun, and the hangover of Jean-Patrice as he struggled with his feelings. It was a riveting book and I was totally absorbed by the storyline. It was telling the story of one white man’s awareness of just how wrong it was to assume that one’s skin color denotes status. It was a novel of learning about one’s self in dire circumstances. I was blown away with ...more
Alison Offerdal
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, evocative, compelling

Beautiful novel evoking Africa through every page. Set at the turn of the century, it follows the life of Jean-Patrice and his adventures into a world that a Western Man does not understand and yet continues to try and mould it to his likeness. Couldn’t put it down!
Rachel Roetman
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a beautiful book!

Marius Gabriel is at his best in this book, I think. His poetic prose is riveting while also revealing some of the mysteries and tragedies of Africa and the European intrusion. I wonder if the character of Jean-Patrice perhaps suggests the author’s personality? This book provides much food for thought ......
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure about this one

Interesting but not riveting. I was motivated to read more of this author’s works after reading Design. It was fabulous, Gabon is not. Perhaps it does give insight into Africa at that time - it certainly condemns the white man. But... where is the documentation?
Holly H Lang
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An Excellent Story

A fascinating story of Africa in the late 1800s, Gabriel is an excellent writer and storyteller. The hero is likeable but imperfect, and he grows as a result of his experiences.
Jeannette Modesto
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved the story and I was not expecting that twist at the end!
Carolyn M
Oct 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

So annoyed with the entire storyline, didn’t even finish the last 30 pages. Did not care what happened to main characters, worse than The Heart of Darkness.
Tracey S Choat
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I've been on a reading spree of this authors books. They are always interesting and informative with a big splash of adventure.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
agree with ronnale...didnt need the afterword...particularly about chloe...otherwise i enjoyed the read..intriguing. thanks!
Raghvendra Singh
It's a good period novel nestled in Africa in early 19th century

A good read about the period discussed in Africa during 1900 by a french civil servent who falls for a local wonam
Tim Mack
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A stunning book

The detail and research that has gone into this book is huge. A book that you look forward to waking up in the middle of the night unable to sleep so you can read!
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gabon Was Glorious To Read!!!

I have read many books by Marius Gabriel. This one is my favorite by far!! It is a story of disappointment, love and finally acceptance of self.

Judith Watkinson
My favourite author. Wasn’t sure about this book, but once I started I couldn’t put it down. It was a bit different from his other books, but I just loved it. J. Watkinson
Susan Fouche
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loves this book. Not just an adventure into Africa but also into man’s soul and search for meaning and purpose.
Rachel Perash
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great, easy read. The afterword contains a surprise which was so abrupt and confusing it made me go from five to four stars.
Linda Brown
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent reads for leisure time

I've read 4 novels by this author. Each has been set in an interesting setting and time period and yet none has felt like I'm reading a formula. Descriptive and gritty at times without needing to use profanity and gore which is a relief. The author allows for the reader's imagination to fill in the depth of detail the reader prefers.

Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book via a Goodreads Giveaway. I am not familiar with the historical genre and have generally avoided it in the past but this Goodreads Giveaway prize gave me the chance to explore a new type of fiction. I was impressed and will look at Gabriel's other work. Thankyou!
Desiree Griffin
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
What an intense read! Gabon was definitely a total different and thrilling book to read after having read all of Marius's other books. This book was filled with so much adventure and suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure and the thrilling ride.
Gloria Iversen
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History comes to life with a cast

It was riveting, Very hard to put down. Some parts were a little raw but that was the story. It was spellbinding, hard to believe that life could exist as such. I would recommend this book to anyone I know. Waiting for Mr Gabriel next spellbinder
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put it down....

Extremely vivid account of the white mans intrusion into Africa... Well told, entertaining to the last word. Slightly put off by the afterword, I personally do not think it was necessary......
May 07, 2014 rated it liked it
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Oct 11, 2019
Judith Faye Stephens-Wilson
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Sep 07, 2015
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Marius Gabriel is an international thriller and mystery writer.

Under the pseudonym Madeleine Ker, he wrote over 30 romance novels in the 1980s.

As Marius Gabriel he has written several mystery best-sellers, some of them historical novels.

He has three grown-up children and currently lives in Cairo and London. He is 59.
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