This riveting historical adventure is set in 12th century West Africa. Ada lives with Papa Eze, a herbalist and healer who had found her as a baby and brought her home as his wife and child had died. Eze teaches Ada his knowledge and skill in the ways of the forest but she feels something is missing and wants to find out more about her ancestors. She knows that a special amber coloured stone buried among the trees was put there specially for her and as her curiosity increases, she becomes more determined to find out where she came from. While Eze is away consulting a diviner, Ada with the help of Mbe, Eze’s apprentice, risks a journey of her own to find some Golden-leaf bark as she has noticed Eze is becoming weaker. Along the way the children spy warrior hunters from the faraway forest city and speculate as to what they might be looking for.
On her return Ada feels compelled to visit her special stone and accidentally unearths a package lying underneath. It contains a beautiful and finely carved amulet. Eze disturbs her and realises it is now time to tell Ada about her heritage as the daughter of a queen.
As the story unfolds the children face many dangers and much treachery on their journey but Ada’s courage and self-belief carry her forward and she discovers some surprising revelations in her quest to find her true family.
This is a fast-paced adventure story of a resourceful and feisty young girl determined to find out where she came from and where she fits into society. It is also as much about friendship and loyalty and the bonds of family as a quest for identity. The book is rich in details of village life contrasted against the bustle and splendour of the forest city.
This would be an excellent read for schools and there a helpful factual section at the back of the book placing the story in context and giving more accurate historical details.