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Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Par / By Marlon James

Book #1 de/of The Dark Star trilogy


[FR] Dans ce roman épique à succès international de Marlon James, l’auteur lauréat du prix Man Booker pour A Brief History of Seven Killings, le mythe, la fantaisie et l’histoire se confondent dans l’histoire étonnante d’un mercenaire à la recherche d’un enfant disparu.


[EN] In this epic, internationally bestselling novel from Marlon James, the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, myth, fantasy and history merge in the stunning story of a mercenary’s quest to find a missing child.

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Tracker est connu dans le monde entier pour ses talents de chasseur : “Il a du flair”, disent les gens. Engagé pour finaliser un mystérieux garçon qui a disparu, Tracker enfreint sa propre règle de toujours travailler seul lorsqu’il se finit par faire partie d’un groupe assemblé pour rechercher le garçon. Le groupe est un méli-mélo, rempli de personnages inhabituels avec des secrets qui leur sont propres, notamment un homme-animal changeant de forme connu sous le nom de Léopard.

Alors que Tracker suit l’odeur du garçon, lui et le groupe sont attaqués par des créatures qui veulent les détruire. Alors qu’il fighte pour survivre, Tracker commence à se poser des questions : Qui est vraiment ce garçon ? Pourquoi a-t-il disparu depuis si longtemps ? Pourquoi tant de gens veulent empêcher qu’on le retrouve ? Et peut-être le plus important de tout : Qui dit la vérité, et qui ment ?

S’inspirant de l’histoire et de la mythologie africaines ainsi que de sa propre imagination, Marlon James a écrit une saga d’aventures à couper le souffle qui est aussi une lecture ambitieuse et captivante. Défiant toute catégorisation et rempli de personnages inoubliables, Léopard noir, loup rouge est à la fois surprenant et profond car il explore les fondements de la vérité, les limites du pouvoir, les excès de l’ambition et notre besoin de les comprendre tous.


Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Hired to find a mysterious boy who has disappeared, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group assembled to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as the Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent, he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he fights for survival, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep the boy from being found? And perhaps most important of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a saga of breathtaking adventure that’s also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all.

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Auteur.rice / Author

Marlon James est né en Jamaïque en 1970. Il est l’auteur du best-seller du New York Times Black Leopard, Red Wolf, qui a été finaliste du National Book Award de la fiction en 2019. Son roman A Brief History of Seven Killings a remporté le prix Man Booker 2015. Il a également été finaliste du National Book Critics Circle Award et a remporté le prix OCM Bocas de littérature caribéenne pour la fiction, le Anisfield-Wolf Book Award pour la fiction et le Minnesota Book Award. Il a également figuré dans la liste des ” Notable Book ” du New York Times. James est également l’auteur de The Book of Night Women, qui a remporté le Dayton Literary Peace Prize 2010 et le Minnesota Book Award, et a été finaliste du National Book Critics Circle Award 2010 pour la fiction et du NAACP Image Award. Son premier roman, John Crow’s Devil, a été finaliste du Los Angeles Times Book Prize pour la première fiction et du Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, et a été un choix de la rédaction du New York Times. James partage son temps entre le Minnesota et New York.


Marlon James was born in Jamaica in 1970. He is the author of the New York Times-bestseller Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction in 2019. His novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, and the Minnesota Book Award. It was also a New York Times Notable Book. James is also the author of The Book of Night Women, which won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Minnesota Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction and an NAACP Image Award. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. James divides his time between Minnesota and New York.



NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY The Globe and Mail • CBC •TIME • The Washington Post  The Guardian • Vogue • GQ • Esquire • The Wall Street Journal • Montreal Gazette • NRP • Kirkus Reviews • AV Club • PureWow • E! News • Paste

“James is such a nimble and fluent writer that such references [to literary and sci-fi works] never threaten to devolve into pretentious postmodern exercises. Even when he is nestling one tale within another like Russian dolls that underscore the provisional nature of storytelling (and the Rashomon-like ways in which we remember), he is giving us a gripping, action-packed narrative. . . . With Tracker and the Leopard, James has created two compelling and iconic characters—characters who will take their place in the pantheon of memorable and fantastical superheroes.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Book Review

“Stand aside, Beowulf. There’s a new epic hero slashing his way into our hearts, and we may never get all the blood off our hands. . . . [This] spectacular volume of a planned trilogy, rises up from the mists of time, glistening like viscera. James has spun an African fantasy as vibrant, complex and haunting as any Western mythology, and nobody who survives reading this book will ever forget it. That thunder you hear is the jealous rage of Olympian gods.” —The Washington Post

Black Leopard, Red Wolf defies comparison. This is sui generis, the type of loving and self-loathing fever dream of a story that our grandparents would never tell in mixed company. If there’s any comparison to be made, it’s this: Black Leopard, Red Wolf is one of the most compelling fantasy lores since Frodo Baggins set out from the Shire.” —The Globe and Mail

“Far more daring and audacious than George R.R. Martin’s magnum opus, far more complex and rich. . . Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a fervent fever dream of a book. . . . If one allows themselves to be immersed in James’s world and words, they will emerge profoundly stirred, their understanding of the world, of the power of a novel, of the nature of reading itself, fundamentally changed.” —Toronto Star  

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is bawdy (OK, filthy), lyrical, poignant, violent (sometimes hyperviolent), riotous, funny (filthily hilarious), complex, mysterious and always under tight and exquisite control. . . . Absolutely brilliant. . . . James has created a novel and a world that is both fresh and beautifully realized and written. Whether this is innovation or renovation, I don’t know for sure. All I know is I loved it.” —Los Angeles Times

“A literary event as only happens a few times a year. . . . James’s visions don’t jettison you from reality so much as they trap you in his mad-genius, mercurial mind. . . . This is a concert, a production, an epic. This is a revolutionary book.” —Entertainment Weekly

“To read the novel is to luxuriate in an abundance of imagination. . . . James has concocted an intricate saga of myth and history, full of strange encounters, unpredictable action scenes and deliciously obscene dialogue. . . . There’s no denying the mythic energy of its settings, the antic humor in its tone or the multidimensionality of its primary characters.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Marlon James is one of those novelists who aren’t afraid to give a performance, to change the states of language from viscous to gushing to grand, to get all the way inside the people he’s created. . . . [Black Leopard, Red Wolf] looks like another great, big tale of death, murder and mystery but more mystically fantastical. . . . Not only does this book come with a hefty cast of characters (like Seven Killings), there are also shape shifters, fairies, trolls, and, apparently, a map. The map might be handy. But it might be the opposite of why you come to James—to get lost in him.” The New York Times

“A miracle. . . . If Charles R. Saunders’ Imaro series opened the door to new ways of telling epic fantasy, and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy leapt over the threshold, then Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf just ripped the whole damn door off its hinges.” Tor 

“James is utilizing his gift for lush prose not just in the name of world-building but also as a way of reinventing the grand genre epic. . . . Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a claim-staking move, a saga worth its weight in Frank Frazetta paintings and a chance for the writer to leave his mark on a sword-and-sorcery template not usually associated with Man Booker Prize winners. The well of James’s imagination here feels virtually bottomless. You put it down word-drunk yet somehow thirsty for more.” —Rolling Stone

“By turns absorbing, messy, and affectingly sharp, Black Leopard, Red Wolf unfolds with a sustained hunger. It is a hero’s tale soaked in blood. . . . He sketches and paints and slathers depth onto a canvas of infinite possibilities, textures and horrors. It is a history and a world richly and hauntingly imagined.” —Wired  

“A sprawling, epic fantasy . . . [that] fuses mythology, fantasy and African history into a sensual, psychological triumph.” Esquire 

“Marlon James is the author of some of the most lush, lyrical, evocative prose of the last couple of decades, and so it’s no wonder that his fans have been waiting with bated breath for his first foray into the fantasy world with Black Leopard, Red Wolf. . . . James imbues the story with mythology and magic, and explores the outer limits of truth and power, as he crafts one of the most fully, imaginatively realized fantasy universes ever. Our only question is: When does the next book come out?” Nylon 

“With Black Leopard, Red Wolf, [Marlon James] brings us another epic story. . . . Lyrically written and drawing from African history and mythology, Black Leopard, Red Wolf will be the book everyone is talking about.” PopSugar  

“Wrought with blood, iron and jolting images, this swords-and-sorcery epic set in a mythical Africa is also part detective story, part quest fable and part inquiry into the nature of truth, belief and destiny. . . . James’ sensual, beautifully rendered prose and sweeping, precisely detailed narrative cast their own transfixing spell upon the reader. . . . James’ trilogy could become one of the most talked-about and influential adventure epics since George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Marlon James does mystery, dread, and weirdness excellently, and Black Leopard, Red Wolf is likely to raise the bar even higher. —Lit Hub

“The novel teems with nightmares: devils, witches, giants, shape-shifters, haunted woods, magic portals. It’s terrifying, sensual, hard to followbut somehow indelible, too.” —Vogue  

“A courageous and provocative piece of writing. . . . Remarkable prose, distilled quality and tight rhythms abound in this wild fantastical tale. . . . [Black Leopard, Red Wolf is] one of the bravest and boldest pieces of contemporary fiction I’ve read in years.” —The Irish Times

“[Marlon James] throws pretty much every fantasy and horror creature known into this brilliantly chaotic mash-up of genres and styles. Readers will discover mermaids, vampires, zombies and witches, along with edge-of-your-seat chills and cheeky humor. James’ tale digs its hooks in and never lets go, rather like the claws of the flesh-eating Zogbanu trolls, or the teeth of a vicious ghommid. Yet for all the fantasy and action, James never loses sight of the human story. . . . Gender-bending romance, fantastical adventure and an Afrocentric setting make for an inventive and engaging read.” Booklist 

“A work of prodigious imagination capable of entrancing readers.” —Publishers Weekly 

“a voice of almost overwhelming confidence, earthiness and brio.” —Slate

“To call this novel original doesn’t do justice to such a phantasmagoric work of art. . . . James has thrown African cultures, mythologies, religions, customs, histories, rituals, world-views and topographies into the mighty cauldron of his imagination to create a work of literary magic.” —New Statesman (UK)

“Any attempt to summarize Black Leopard Red Wolf is by its very nature doomed. . . . As a lifelong fantasy-fiction sceptic, I can honestly say I cannot wait for the next instalment.” —The Spectator (UK)

“[I]ncisive prose . . . [and] truly magical world-building about the unwieldiness of truth . . . wrought with striking imagery of typical fantasy staples like witches and giants made new, and a driving plot of shape-shifting mercenaries searching for a murdered child. . . . [Black Leopard, Red Wolf] is an expansive, exciting, exhaustive epic that’s only just begun.” —Thrillist 

“An epic fantasy with deep roots in African history and myth. . . . A thrilling story.” Southern Living 

“James is a professed fantasy nerd, so Black Leopard, Red Wolf will certainly appeal to fans of all the well-acknowledged authors with at least two initials—George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, etc. But if you’ve read James’ 2014 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings (decidedly not a sci-fi or fantasy book but a 700-page world-building epic about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley), you’ll drag yourself to the midnight queue to buy Black Leopard regardless of the whole ‘Game of Thrones’ selling point.” Huffington Post

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the kind of novel I never realized I was missing until I read it. A dangerous, hallucinatory, ancient Africa, which becomes a fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made, with language as powerful as Angela Carter’s. It’s as deep and crafty as Gene Wolfe, bloodier than Robert E. Howard, and all Marlon James. It’s something very new that feels old, in the best way. I cannot wait for the next installment.” Neil Gaiman

“This book begins like a fever dream and merges into world upon world of deadly fairy tales rich with political magic. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a fabulous cascade of storytelling. Sink right in. I guarantee you will be swept downstream.” Louise Erdrich

Praise for Marlon James and A Brief History of Seven Killings: 

“[A] tour de force.” The Wall Street Journal 

“Sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzingly complex.” The New York Times 

“Awe-inspiring.” Entertainment Weekly 

“Thrilling, ambitious . . . both intense and epic.” Los Angeles Times 

“It will come to be seen as a classic of our times.” NPR 

“An astonishing portrait of the politics of everyday life. . . . Just as he is sharply aware of the nuances of their voices, James has the confidence not to deny his characters their humanity by turning them into moral exemplars, nor paper over the infected wounds that score across the country by suggesting that the loveliness of some of its territory makes up for the savage effects of poverty.” —The Washington Post


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