Pandora in the Congo by Albert Sánchez Piñol (2005)

“This story began with three funerals and ended with one broken heart.”

Thomas Thomson is a young man hired to write the story of a man jailed for murdering two Brits in the Congo. The tale the prisoner, Garvey, tells is fantastic and Thomas has no problems believing every word of the story and the man’s innocence. Garvey explains how he happened to go to the Congo with the two sons of aristocrats, the way they treated their bearers and captured new ones, how they found the mine and how one day a tall weird white man came from the depths of the mine and then trouble began.

“My grandfather knew what he was talking about. The white men always do the same thing. First, missionaries arrive and threaten hell. Then, the merchants come and steal everything. Then, the soldiers. They’re all bad, but the new arrivals are always worse than the ones before them. First came Mr Tecton, who wanted us to believe in his God. Today the merchants appeared. And soon the soldiers will come up. I don’t want to be here when they arrive.”

The link between the prequel Cold Skin must be humanoid monsters living in remote parts of our world, but there is no direct link between the books, they are set in different places and even time.

It took a lot longer to get in to this book because it focuses a lot more on the writer and his present-time and not just on the story. I didn’t realise the importance of this before the very end, which is why this book is so brilliant. It is less thrilling, but the story is definitely much better than the prequel. I’m really looking forward to the last book in the trilogy which hasn’t been published yet.

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