15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating insight into Tuareg culture,
This review is from: The Salt Road (Paperback)
I have never read any of Jane Johnson's previous books but was aware of her fantasy books written under the pseudonym Jude Fisher. The Salt Road was recommended to me and I am glad to say, it was well worth reading.
The Salt Road is mainly set in North Africa and the descriptions of the varied landscapes of the Sahara are breathtaking. The story centres around a Tuareg amulet that Isabelle inherits from her estranged father. She goes to Morocco to solve the puzzle of why her father wanted her to have the amulet and it is here that the story really takes off. Intercut between Isabelle's experiences is the story of Mariata, last in the female line of Tin Hinan, Founder of the Tuareg, and owner of the amulet.
It is through Mariata that we learn much about the culture of the nomadic people of the Sahara region and about how this long tradition is under threat from modern politics. I found this particularly fascinating, especially in how women are regarded in the desert peoples' society.
While both Isabelle and Mariata have romantic relationships, this is not the main focus of the book and at no point does the romance element either dominate or undermine the solving of the puzzle of the amulet. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Salt Road and was enthralled by the desert landscape which was painted as being full of life and mystery as well as being a dangerous and hostile environment.
This is a novel for anyone interested a story of the human condition set in an exotic and unfamiliar culture. Highly recommended!