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Read this book.

Finished Steven Barnes' Zulu Heart yesterday, and cannot recommend it strongly enough. If anything, it's even better than Lion's Blood, to which it is a sequel. Set in an alternate world where America has been colonized by Islamic African nations, the novel follws two men, Aidan O'Dere and Kai, hid former master, who has become Senator and Judge of New Djibouti on the death of his father and uncle. New Bilalistan is on the verge of civil war as Empress and Pharaoh struggle for dominance, and Kai himself has problems at home as he prepares to marry Nandi, the Zulu princess who is niece to the Shaka he killed to avenge his brother.

The novel has everything - war, romance, intrigue, philosophy, madness, treachery, and best of all characters you can believe in and feel for. Very few books move me the way Zulu Heart has, and none of them have been alternate histories this beautifully crafted. It's not a world I'd want to live in, but it is wonderfully described and brought to life by the words of a true master. If any novel deserved a Hugo, it's this one.