“Engrossing, beautiful, and deeply imaginative, Out of Darkness, Shining Light is a novel that lends voice to those who appeared only as footnotes in history, yet whose final, brave act of loyalty and respect changed the course of it. An incredible and important book by a masterful writer.”


Just finished Out Of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah. Historical Novel. Based on actual events this is the story of the death Dr David Livingstone and the transport of his body from Zambia, where he died all the way to the west coast of Africa then on to his home in England.

It is a fascinating look at what was going on in Colonial Africa at that time, especially between the vast amount of tribes that controlled towns and villages, fought to keep it that way, and the tribes of slavers, feeding on their own kind, installing fear on all Africans travelling anywhere beyond their villages.

The story is narrated by two persons. Halima, Dr Livingstone’s cook and Jacob Wainwright, Livingstone’s African secretary who was converted to Christianity by Livingstone.

The heart of the book is the trip with the dead body and all the incidents that occur on the way. There will be murders, fighting, dealing with the conditions of the places they pass through, and, above all, their fervent respect and love for Livingstone. The duty they chose on their own to take the body back so he could be buried back in his home country alone was almost an impossible task It was truly an act of love and courage. Anyone interested in the famous Doctors life will love this book. Recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 15th February 2020

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Richard Franco