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My Soul to Keep (African Immortals, #1)
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My Soul to Keep

(African Immortals #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  4,016 ratings  ·  386 reviews
When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity ...more
Paperback, 346 pages
Published April 8th 1998 by Harper Voyager (first published June 29th 1997)
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,016 ratings  ·  386 reviews

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Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy

More of a 2.5 really but you can't give half stars here so...

I want to begin by saying that this is a very well written piece of urban fantasy. Considering all the urban fantasy out there that sucks, and all the lame and awful vampire/werewolf/ghost/witch in modern times books out there this one is definitely a winner. It has a broad scope and the story effectively wanders through time from ancient history to modern times (well semi-modern like the 90's so there is a bit of a disconnect there).
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My name is Dah-west. I was born in what is now called Ethiopia nearly five hundred years ago. I am an immortal. There are fifty-eight others like me. Our blood lives forever, and our bodies heal. We do not age. We were not born this way, and our condition is not genetic. We underwent a Ritual. We do not have extraordinary strength, and it is not our purpose to harm others. We are merely a race of scholars. Most of us choose not to mingle among mortals, but sone of us do. We love, and we have fam
Brooklyn Darkchild
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal fans
Recommended to Brooklyn by: my daughter
The things we do for love, right?
Dawit is a five-hundred-year-old immortal who has loved and lost three wives: one in Ethiopia hundreds of years ago, one who was killed in slavery times, and one he was forced to abandon by his brethren in the 1920s. But never had he loved a wife the way Dawit loved Jessica. One could say he was obsessed with her.
Young, brash, and professional, Jessica considered Dawit almost a gift from God, and could never fathom just what this wise older professor saw in her.
Jonathan Janz
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've been hearing the name Tananarive Due for several years, but I hadn't given her stuff a shot until this book.

Man, have I been missing out.

Here's the thing about Tananarive's writing: From the very first chapter until the very end of the book, you sense this marvelous combination of total authorial control and utter narrative abandon. The former sensation stems from Ms. Due's elegant, evocative prose; the latter arises from the jaw dropping unpredictability of the plot. The writing is so st
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I was going to read and finish this for Halloween Bingo 2016, but since this is a DNF, it doesn't count towards the bingo. I finally just gave up reading this after I realized that I didn't like either main characters, and the book pace was so slow, it was positively glacial.

We find a man (or is he?) visiting an old woman in a retirement home. The man is sad to see that the woman has grown old (by the way this is really stupid when the reveal shows who he is, shocker dude, people get old) and th
Jan 08, 2013 added it
It took me a long time to get into this book. Partly because not a lot happens in the first two thirds of the story and partly because i found the female protagonist intensely annoying and worse, boring. Perhaps it is partly my fault. Jessica subscribes to the type of Christianity that sees god as a big Santa that will give her everything she asks for (including miracles) if she is "good" enough or prays hard enough and I find that a huge turn off in anyone. Plus, for an investigative reporter, ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I this was so much better than I had imagined, but the ending had something more to be desired. I honestly wished it ended in a different way, but now I'm more curious about the next book.

Ms. Due sure know how to tell a story with such rich characters and a very intriguing plot! The beginning was kind of confusing and somewhat slow, but I feel that it all straightened itself out once you figured out who David is . But all the characters were so engaging and you couldn't help but feel inves
Wow! Gotta read the rest of this series now.
Jessica is living a dream life. Her latest investigative piece is getting Pulitzer buzz, her daughter is thriving, her family is healthy, and her husband is perfect in every way. What she doesn't know is that her husband David cannot die. After taking part in a ritual 400+ years ago, even beheading only requires a few days' healing. Since then he roamed the world thinking of mortals as fruit flies, killing or discarding them without thought. But after a horrific experience as a slave in the Amer ...more
Arielle Walker
Not bad at all, just... not really my thing, I guess. Maybe I just expected more, different, better. It reminded me, somehow, of Midnight Crossroad which I wasn't hugely enamoured with either. 3 stars because it deserves them, but for personal taste possibly less.
Kathleen Dixon
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kathleen by: Arielle Walker
A Goodreads friend reviewed this book - said it wasn't really her thing, actually, but I was intrigued by the book's blurb. For several reasons:
Its supernatural base is members of an Ethiopian sect.
It has immortality as a theme/problem.
It suggests you can be robbed of your soul.
I find these things fascinating. In the first place my husband is Ethiopian, and worships at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. He, of course, would be horrified at the idea of the sect's immortality and how they came about i
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story. For a multitude of reasons ... the story itself was intriguing but for me it was because as I was reading it I wanted to scream/yell at the characters to make better/different decisions (but then it wouldn't be a story if they made the decisions I want them to make --- it'd be smart people doing smart things instead of smart people doing not-smart things).

What I liked: The premise of the story was new or at least the way that the premise was attacked; I liked how th
No matter what I think of a book, the basic question I pose to myself when I’m trying to figure out what rating to give it is: how much did I want to read it. This book started out slow, but by the end, I couldn’t put it down. I don’t have a particularly strong interest in paranormal or urban fantasy, but I think that this book was terrific for the genre. If Goodreads had 1/2 stars, I'd give this 3 1/2. I’m not sure if I’ll read the other two books in the series or not. I, definitely, would, if ...more
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This was the first book I stopped in the middle because I couldn’t bear to go on. I peeked. I had to see for myself where the author was going to take it in the end. Yes, I cheated! The characters were amazing, the villain, David, surprisingly lovable with all his faults, a truly amazing story that will reach out and touch you no matter who you are, and where you are in life. I’m so glad I read this book!
Dramatically Bookish (ReviewsMayVary)
Ms. Due is a often- recommended author on the WOC lists, which kind of sucks because she should be on the often- recommended because her writing kicks ass list.
David Wolde is an immortal man who has married a mortal woman. She’s a journalist who’s starting to taste success, and he’s an accomplished professor turned freelance writer who dotes on his wife and their young daughter. However, his wife doesn’t know he is immortal. David took a blood pact many years ago in Ethiopia that granted him and fifty-nine other men immortality. They promised to never tell any others of this pact, and they promised never to get too attached to the mortal world. David’s ...more
Pamela Greer
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: YES YES YES
This is my FAVORITE book in the whole world. T. Due is an awesome writer and though I have not read all her books or the latest installment of this triology..I will forever love this book. This is a love story, this is a horror, fiction all rolled up into one. The character of David/Dawit is so fascinating. The love of Jessica and David is captivating. this book keeps you on the edge. I have had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Due and having a personal discussion with her and my book club last year ...more
Chance Lee
I'm not sure why Goodreads recommended this book to me, but because it was by an author whom I'd never heard of, I figured I'd give it a shot. If I'd read it ten years ago, when I was more into urban fantasy sprinkled with badly written sex scenes, I'd be searching out the next three installments in the series at a used bookstore right now. Instead, I found it an interesting diversion and a story I'm ultimately glad I read because it's written from a POV that I, unfortunately, do not read enough ...more
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dawit is an immortal. 500 years ago, he was gifted with eternal life. Initially, this meant living life to the fullest, learning, loving, and leaving, as long as he didn't break the rules of sharing the secrets of his brotherhood. This is obviously where our drama come in, because Dawit's love for music draws him to the ever-evolving mortal world where, every once in a while, he falls in love with a soul that speaks to his own. Even though he knows it cannot be forever.

Jessica believes David to
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
This series took me by surprise. I discovered it in an airport bookstore and the rest is history. At first, I was afraid it was a romance, but it quickly developed into an unforgettable story that I haven't read anywhere before or since. Best of all, the setting is in my hometown, so I felt an even bigger connection to the characters. My Mom is now reading the third book and I'm reading the fourth.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5, maybe

This was an absorbing and entertaining read. There was some great tension in there, and some creepy scenes were written to very good effect. It was highly readable. The story was good. Ms. Due is a skilled writer. Given all that, you might think my rating is kind of on the low side, and I agree.

I added it to my list after hearing comparisons to Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed. While I think this book is more riveting, possibly even better written, and would probably provide a better experie
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I did not know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised that basically this is a love story, a love story unlike anything I have ever read. A friend of mine wrote a blog about originality today, this story is the original no copies here. The love between Dawit and Jessica is the most beautiful thing I have read. Dawit has a desperate love for his wife and daughter Kira, I felt Jessica loved him the same but differently because of the close relationship with her family. The things Dawit did ...more
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! The characters were well developed and the story keep me interested. It was very thought provoking on several topics: forgiveness, love, religion, death. At several points in the story I found myself asking, "Would I have done that?" It did not exactly scare me in the typical horror tale manner, but it does keep you up at night. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
TOTALLY not my genre. I really disliked the main characters--Jessica and David. I almost gave up, but I'm giving it 2 stars because once I got half way through, the book interested me enough to keep my attention till the end.
Julie S
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think the author is a fan of Octavia Butler and it shows in this story about magic blood and the life of an African immortal who comes to America. There were some scary moments in this book and it was a good story.
Dec 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Excellent. A very interesting take on psychological (and physical!!!) spousal abuse in the guise of a supernatural romance/mystery. Subtly written with a lot content packed in very smoothly.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WHAT A THRILLER!! The dramatic tension was SO GOOD. Seeing the story from both Jessica and Dawit's perspectives really built the tension, because you could see WHY he was doing things, and how selfish his motives were in spite of him trying to rationalize them as good intentions, and basically the whole time I was like I HOPE THIS THING DOESN'T HAPPEN!! Also, I cried.
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Tananarive Due is a novelist and a creative writing teacher who has worked as a journalist. She won the American Book Award in 2002 for her novel The Living Blood.

Other books in the series

African Immortals (4 books)
  • The Living Blood (African Immortals, #2)
  • Blood Colony (African Immortals, #3)
  • My Soul to Take (African Immortals, #4)
“How else, except through being alone for a while, could you ever discover who you really are? But” 1 likes
“Michel, the tight-jawed president of the Black Student Caucus, who called her “little sister” and would have had potential if he’d remembered to sprinkle in some fun between bouts of righteous indignation.” 0 likes
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