"An African Warrior" Series by Mark Stanton

City of Stone:

From the opening chapter, the reader is introduced to Zusa, a young herdsman who is looking after his fathers herd of goats when he is set upon by a childhood bully and as this confrontation reaches what would appear to final show down the herd is attacked by a leopard. With only a simple weapon, Zusa defends the herd but is severely injured during the proceedings.

The following chapters cover his recovery and reveals that he has been recognised by the nations King for bravery and it invited to the majestic city of Nyazimba. During this phase of the book the reader is introduced to the menace of the Zulu nation who have decided to attack the Bantu nation in response to a poor harvest and failed rains.

A number of chapters describes the journey to the city by Zusa and his mentor Kuhuni where the wonders of the African wild are described only as by someone who has experienced the pure beauty and harshness of the territory. The other journey by the Zulu is also explained and detailed attacked sequences on outlaying towns and village culminating in an attack on Belingwe a large mining town a few days walk from Nyazimba.

On arrival at the stone hill fortress of the nation’s capital Zusa and Kuhuni are exposed to the advanced civilisations true status through relatively modern building techniques, farming and culture. Zusa also meets a young women, Paidamoyo the daughter of a local chief.

Once the news of the Zulu invasion is revealed, the Bantu standing army is despatched in an attempted to bottle up the attackers on one side of a mountain range which seems to offer the Bantu nation a chance of fighting off the superior force. The Zulu raiding army loots the surrounding areas during which Zusa’s father and older brother are murdered and his mother and siblings are captured and marched towards captivity.

Racked by guilt for being away from the homestead, Zusa goes against all advice and decided to force march his way home to be with his family only to discover the true horrors of war. Eventually he makes his way back to the city. During this time the Bantu force is defeated in a standing skirmish, whose battle sequence is described expertly by the author.

Realising that defeat is imminent the King of Nyazimba assembles a last ditch defence force consisting of his royal guard, the last of the city defenders and a large number of youth to fill the ranks.

Zusa makes a number of suggestions and he is given authority over regiment of young boys.

The book continues with a range of chapters which cover the preparation and route to the planned battlefield, climaxing in a pitched battle where the Zulu are forced off the field by pure bravery and innovated tactics.

Finally, Zusu accompanies an advance force of Bantu who hunt down the remnants of the Zulu invaders where in a final defeat Zusa frees his family from captivity.