Black Leopard, Red Wolf Summary
by Marlon James

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Black Leopard, Red Wolf Summary

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a 2019 novel by Jamaican author Marlon Jones. The story follows a character named Tracker, a man known for his impressive skills as a hunter, as he searches for a mysterious missing boy.

As he begins his search for the boy, Tracker teams up with other characters, against his usual hunting habits. Over the nine years he looks for the boy, he teams up with Nyka, a shapeshifter and a former lover of his, and Sangoma, a protective healer of lost children and another lover of Tracker's. Salogon the Moon Witch, a giant called Sadogo, and the soldier Mossi also join Tracker's team. All of the characters in Black Leopard, Red Wolf have their own secrets.

The story is told mostly by Tracker, who is narrating his life's story to a captive of his in a nonlinear fashion. There are underlying political tensions between the tribes Tracker travels between. Tracker's tale takes place over nine years, with him joining up with the other characters three years into his journey.

Throughout the journey, Tracker and his team are approached by unwelcoming dark creatures who try to destroy them. These antagonistic characters are demons, were-hyenas, assassins, zombies, and an evil trickster water goddess. There are themes of the supernatural woven throughout the story. Magic doorways link the Northern and Southern Kingdoms that Tracker travels between with his team.

Tracker finds himself often wondering who the missing boy he is hunting is, and subsequently who is telling him the truth and who is not. Multiple secondary characters along the way try to keep the hunting team from finding the mysterious boy.

The novel ends with Tracker unable to find the boy; however, Marlon Jones has expressed his intention to write a trilogy similar in style to Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin or The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfluss. He has said that Black Leopard, Red Wolf is an attempt to reinvent science fiction and fantasy novels outside of the influence of Western culture.