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The Headhunter's Daughter

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Overview

From Tamar Myers, author of The Witch Doctor's Wife, comes a spellbinding tale of equatorial Africa and a child torn dangerously between two worlds.

In 1945, an infant left inadvertently to die in the jungles of the Belgian Congo is discovered by a young Bashilele tribesman on a mission to claim the head of an enemy. Recognized as human—despite her pale white skin and strange blue eyes—the baby is brought into the tribe and raised as its own. Thirteen years later, the girl—now...

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Overview

From Tamar Myers, author of The Witch Doctor's Wife, comes a spellbinding tale of equatorial Africa and a child torn dangerously between two worlds.

In 1945, an infant left inadvertently to die in the jungles of the Belgian Congo is discovered by a young Bashilele tribesman on a mission to claim the head of an enemy. Recognized as human—despite her pale white skin and strange blue eyes—the baby is brought into the tribe and raised as its own. Thirteen years later, the girl—now called "Ugly Eyes"—will find herself at the center of a controversy that will rock two separate societies.

Young missionary Amanda Brown hears the incredible stories of a white girl living among the Bashilele headhunters. In the company of the local police chief, Captain Pierre Jardin, and with the witch doctor's wife, the quick-witted Cripple, along as translator, Amanda heads into the wild hoping to bring the lost girl back to "civilization." But Ugly Eyes no longer belongs in their world—and the secrets surrounding her birth and disappearance are placing them all in far graver peril than anyone ever imagined.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rarely have good intentions wrought more disastrous results than in this captivating Belgian Congo adventure, by turns comic and suspenseful, a worthy sequel to its predecessor, The Witch Doctor's Wife (2009). In October 1958, reports of a white girl living among the Bashilele tribe of headhunters shock young American missionary Amanda Brown; her dashing police captain suitor, Pierre Jardin; her conniving maid, Cripple; and the rest of the diamond-mining outpost of Belle Vue. Could the self-possessed teen known as "Ugly Eyes" be the same Belgian who vanished from the community as an infant 13 years earlier? In any case, what should become of her? Answering these questions proves unexpectedly complex as well as surprisingly dangerous. Myers (Butter Safe than Sorry and 17 other Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries) spins an engagingly devious yarn, but what truly elevates this effort is the warmth with which she evokes the now-vanished Congo where she spent much of her childhood. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews

The closer the Belgian Congo comes to independence in 1958, the more dangerous it becomes for the white population.

Young missionary Amanda Brown, who runs the guesthouse overlooking the spectacular falls in the mining town of Belle Vue, is doing penance for her role in a fatal car accident in her South Carolina hometown. Back in 1945, a white baby girl had vanished from her home. The mysterious Mastermind planned to hold her for ransom until his plans went awry when the baby was taken by a young Bashilele boy. Raised in the tribe, the Headhunter's Daughter has grown almost to marriageable age when her existence becomes known, and she's taken along with her native father back to the guesthouse by Amanda and Pierre Jardin, a dashing police captain in love with Amanda. Amanda's servant Cripple, along as a translator, realizes that great difficulties will face the Bashilele-raised child in white society. The townspeople are agog over the new arrival, who has not the slightest idea of how to live as a white person. When the Mastermind revives the kidnapping plan, the headhunter vanishes, and long-buried secrets come out before Cripple takes matters in hand.

The second in Myers' new series (The Witch Doctor's Wife, 2009) hides the Mastermind's identity well. But it's best read for the evocative descriptions of life in the Congo, where the author grew up, and the skillful portrayal of the vast disconnect between the white and black inhabitants.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061997648
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/25/2011
  • Pages: 229
  • Sales rank: 1,415,736
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Tamar Myers is the author of the Belgian Congo series and the Den of Antiquity series as well as the Pennsylvania-Dutch mysteries. Born and raised in the Congo, she lives in North Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2014

    Boo

    are you here

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2014

    Boo

    Is anyone here

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  • Posted January 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a fantastic Belgian Congo historical thriller

    In 1945 in the Belgian Congo, a Bashilele warrior on a headhunting quest finds an abandoned baby that he assumes is an ailing human due to her white skin and blue eyes. He takes the infant to his tribe to be raised as a member affectionately called "Ugly Eyes".

    In October 1958 in the Belgian Congo, rumors fly in the diamond-mining town of Belle Vue that a white teenage girl lives with the Bashilele tribe. American missionary Amanda Brown; her boyfriend police captain Pierre Jardin; and her scheming maid Cripple are stunned with the news of a Caucasian residing with the headhunters. The teen is brought to the outpost, which leads to everyone discussing whether "Ugly Eyes" is the Belgian infant who vanished thirteen years ago. They also debate what to do with the child as resolution of the problem is complex but surprisingly also dangerous.

    The Headhunter's Daughter is a fantastic Belgian Congo historical thriller that brings to life the then African colony with tender affection just like Tamar Myers did with the terrific The Witch Doctor's Wife. With a nod to the "white man's burden" rationale for colonization, the story line is character driven by Good Samaritans who learn first hand what paves the road to hell as nothing seems to go right for the pair or the girl they want to help. However though the American and her boyfriend drive the tale, it is the deep look at colonial Belgian Congo during the Eisenhower Administration that makes for a powerful Cold War era thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

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