The Call of Zulina

The Call of Zulina

by Kay Marshall Strom


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The Grace in Africa series is a sweeping three-part historical saga of slavery and freedom that takes the reader from an island off the west coast of Africa to Southern plantations and finally on to Canada. All her life, Grace Winslow, the daughter of a mixed marriage between an English sea captain and an African princess, has been sheltered from the truth about the family business—the capture and trade of slaves.

Set in 1787 in West Africa, The Call of Zulina opens as the scorching harmattan winds blow. Desperate to avoid marriage to an odious suitor, Grace escapes the family compound only to be caught up in a slave revolt at the fortress of Zulina. Soon, she begins to grasp the brutality and ferocity of the family business. Held for ransom, viciously maimed by a runaway slave, and threatened with death, Grace is finally jerked into reality and comes to sympathize with the plight of the captives. She admires their strength and courage and is genuinely moved by the African Cabeto’s passion, determination, and willingness to sacrifice anything, including his own life, for his people’s freedom.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426700699
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication date: 12/27/2010
Series: Grace in Africa Series , #1
Edition description: Original
Pages: 306
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Of Kay Marshall Strom’s 39 published books, four have been book club selections, nine have been translated into foreign languages, and one has been optioned for a movie. Her writing credits also includethe Grace in Africa Series and the Blessings in India series. Her writing has appeared in several volumes, including More Than Conquerors, Amazing Love, The NIV Couple's Devotional Bible and The NIV Women's Devotional Bible, and The Bible for Today's Christian Woman. Her best-known book is Once Blind: The Life of John Newton, which is packaged with the recently released DVD Amazing Grace. She also has written several books with her husband, Dan Kline. Kay is a partner in Kline, Strom International, Inc., leaders in communication training. She currently lives in Eugene, Oregon.Learn more about Kay at

Read an Excerpt

The Call of Zulina - Grace in Africa Series #1

By Kay Marshall Strom

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2009 The United Methodist Publishing House
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4267-0069-9

Chapter One

West Africa, 1787

Hot, dry harmattan winds swept across the African savanna and awakened the yellow-brown sand, whipping it up with wild gusts that swirled and soared high into the air. The sandy clouds that blew in with the first shards of daybreak to shroud the dawn in grit refused to release their grip, and by late afternoon a thick layer of dust coated the entire landscape. Irritated goats paused in their search for edible blades of grass to stomp and shake themselves, and the children who herded them scratched at the itchy grit in their own eyes and hair. On the road, donkeys turned their heads away from the sandy wind and refused to pull their loads. Impatient masters swiped at their own faces as they whipped at the donkeys' flanks, but all that accomplished was to send still more billows of dust into the air.

Sand whistled through banana leaves thatched atop clusters of mud huts in villages, and it settled over the decks of ships as they rocked idly at anchor in the harbor. Even at what was mockingly called "the London house," with its ostentatious glass windows locked tight and European bolts securing its imported doors, gritty wind found a way under and between and beneath and into.

Twenty-year-old Grace Winslow, who had claimed the plumpest of the upholstered parlor chairs for herself, shifted from one uncomfortable position to another and sighed deeply. She reached out slender fingers and brushed a newly settled layer of sand from the intricate lace trim on her new silk taffeta dress and resigned herself to the day.

"The ancestors are angry," proclaimed Lingongo, Grace's mother, from her imposing position beside the rattling window shutters. Silky soft kente cloth flowed over her in a kaleidoscope of handwoven color, framing her fierce beauty. Lingongo made a proud point of her refusal to sit on her husband's English furniture—except when it was to her advantage to do so.

"Ancestors! Sech foolishness!" Joseph Winslow snorted . . . but only under his breath. "Wind jist be wind and nothin' but wind."

"Maybe the ancestors don't want me to marry a snake," Grace ventured.

No one could argue that the first harmattan of the season had roared through on the very day Jasper Hathaway first came to court her. He had swept through the front door and into the parlor in a blustering whirlwind of sand, his fleshy face streaked with sweat and his starched collar askew. He stayed on and on for the entire afternoon. Only when it became obvious that no one intended to invite him to eat supper with the family did he finally heft himself out of Joseph's favorite chair and bid a reluctant farewell. When the door finally shut behind him and Grace's father had thrown the bolt into place, Lingongo had turned to her daughter and warned, "Snake at your feet, a stick at your hand. So the wise men say. Keep a stick in your hand, Grace. You will need it with that snake at your feet."

Surely, Grace had thought, that will be that. Never again will I have to endure such an agonizing afternoon. And yet, at her parents' insistence, here she sat.

"Perhaps it angers the ancestors that white men insist on settling in a country where they do not belong," Lingongo said, her black eyes fixed hard on her husband.

But Joseph was in no mood for arguments. Not this day. So, turning to his daughter, he said, "Ye looks good, darlin'." And he meant it too. He fairly beamed at Grace, bedecked as she was in the new dress he had personally obtained for just this occasion. The latest fashion from the shops of London, Captain Bass assured him when the captain unwrapped the package and then carefully unfolded and laid out the frock he had secured in London on Winslow's behalf. Captain Bass said it again when he presented the shop's bill of goods, with the price marked out and double the amount scribbled in ("To account fer all me trouble," Bass explained).

In the end, Joseph had been forced to turn over two of his prize breeding slaves to pay for the dress. But, Joseph consoled himself, it would be well worth his investment to get a son-in-law with extensive landholdings, not to mention endless access to slaves. A son-in-law with enough wealth to flash about, to impress the entire Gold Coast of Africa and no doubt dazzle the company officers in London, too ... well, such a bloke merited the calculated investment he had made in his daughter.

"Ye looks almost like a true English lass, me darlin'," Joseph exuded. "Yes, ye very nearly does."

Grace sighed. In her entire life, she had met only one true English lass. Charlotte Stevens was her name. And if Grace Winslow knew anything, she knew she looked nothing like Charlotte Stevens. Small and dainty, with skin so pale one could almost see through it—that was Charlotte. The she-ghost, the slaves called her. Charlotte's hair was almost white, like an old woman's—very thin and straight. In every way, she was the opposite of Grace. Tall and willowy, with black eyes and thick dark hair that glinted auburn in the sunlight, Grace was a silky mocha blend of her African mother and her English father.

Charlotte's father ran a slave-trading business down the coast. Grace had never been there, although she had seen Mr. Stevens on a number of occasions when he came to see her father on business matters. Charlotte never accompanied him, though. She and her mother mostly lived in England and visited Africa only two months every other year. The few times Grace and Charlotte had occasion to be in each other's company, Charlotte had treated Grace as though she were one of her father's slaves. Never once had she even called Grace by her given name.

"Mr. 'Athaway—now there's as fine an Englishman as ye could 'ope to find, Daughter," Joseph Winslow continued. "English 'ouse 'e 'as too. Even finer'n ours, if ye kin believe it. An' 'e 'as 'oldin's all up and down the coast, 'e 'as—" "I don't like Mr. Hathaway," Grace interrupted.

"You do not have to like him. You only have to marry him," Lingongo replied. "You are a woman, Grace. Tonight, you will tell the Englishman what he wants to hear. After you are married, take what he has to give and then make your life what you want it to be."

Grace stole a look at her father. A deep flush scorched his mottled cheeks and burned all the way up to his thinning shock of red hair. Embarrassed for him, she quickly looked away.

Outside, the wind grabbed up the aroma of Mama Muco's cooking and swept it into the parlor. It was not the usual vegetable porridge, or even frying fish and plantains. No, this was the rich, deep fragrance of roasting meat. Forgetting his humiliation, Joseph blissfully closed his eyes and sucked in the tantalizing fragrance. A smile touched the edges of his thin, pale lips, and he murmured, "Mmmmm ... good English food. That's wot it be!"

Lingongo's flawless cocoa face glistened with impatience and her dark eyes flashed. "Where is Mr. Hathaway?" she demanded. "He keeps us waiting on purpose!"

Grace and her parents had endured one another's company for almost an hour by the time Jasper Hathaway finally blustered in, full of complaints and self-importance and, of course, a tremendous appetite. He talked all through dinner, not even bothering to pause as he stuffed his mouth with roasted meat, steamed sweet potatoes, and thick slices of mango.

"... so I sent detailed instructions by the next ship to London inquiring about my various and sundry holdings," Hathaway said. Little pieces of sweet potato fell from his mouth and settled onto his blue satin waistcoat. "I should have gone myself. It is the only way to get things done right. But I do so hate the long sea journey. I am not of your kind, Joseph."

Here he stopped his fork long enough to cast his host a look of pity.

"Aye," Joseph said. "Sea air. 'Tis wot keeps me lungs clean and me 'ide tough!"

"No, no!" Hathaway said with a dismissive wave of his fork. "That isn't it at all. I mean, you can be away for a year at a time and no one misses you. That is, your work in Africa does not suffer in the least in your absence. Not so with a true businessman such as myself. Why, if I were to be away so long—"

Grace stopped listening. The truth was, she had absolutely no interest in anything Mr. Hathaway had to say. And as for his demeanor, she found that absolutely disgusting. So she allowed her mind to move her away from the table and nestle her down in the mango grove, to settle her in her favorite spot where the wind rippled through the branches above her and she could lose herself in books. There, Grace could leave Africa and travel to wonderful places around the world. One day, she promised herself, she would see all those places for real—London and Paris and Lisbon and Alicante ... the mysterious cities of the Orient ... yes, even the New World. Oh, just to be outside her parents' walled-in compound!

"... a business agreement, of course," Mr. Hathaway was saying. "And as a husband ... well, as I am quite sure you know, I have a good deal to offer your daughter. A very good deal, indeed!"

Mr. Hathaway glanced at Grace and flashed a leering smirk. With a start and a shudder, Grace jerked her attention back to the table.

"Now once again I have come to your house—and under miserable conditions, I might add—for the sole purpose of seeing and of permitting myself to be seen," Mr. Hathaway continued, his voice tinged with pompous irritation. "If there is to be a marriage, as I have been led to believe, I insist that we talk terms immediately. Of course, the business of Zulina will be a necessary part of those terms."

Outside, the trees groaned in the howling wind. Suddenly, a great jackfruit, scorched hard by the sun, smashed through the shuttered window and crashed onto the table. It shattered the hand-painted English platter and sent roasted meat juices spewing across the linen tablecloth. Grace screamed and jumped to her feet and then stared in horror as a dark stain spread down the front of her new dress.

"This is not the time to discuss such things," Lingongo pronounced. "The ancestors are much too displeased. We will talk another time."

"Now see here—" Mr. Hathaway blustered.

"Another time!" Lingongo repeated. Her tone made it clear the discussion was over.

Jasper Hathaway judiciously turned his attention to his waistcoat. The close-fitting satin garment might be the latest fashion in Europe, but Hathaway's fleshy body proved too much for it, dangerously straining the seams. Sighing deeply, he tossed fashion to the wind. He undid the buttons and freed his ample stomach.

"The ancestors are invisible, Lingongo," Jasper Hathaway stated as if to a not-too-bright child. "They have already collected what was due them in their own lifetime. Now they have nothing more to say. You need not fear the ancestors." Shifting his gaze to Joseph, he added, "Fear the living, present threats to your well-being, my dear lady, not powerless shadows from the past."

Joseph Winslow flinched and paled.

At long last, Mr. Hathaway, jovial and flushed in his flapping waistcoat, and far too familiar toward Grace, sent for his carriage and bid his farewells. Yet even as his carriage clattered down the cobblestone lane toward the front gate, he leaned out the window and called back, "I will not be patient for long, Winslow. Time is running out. And as for Zulina—" The rest of his words swirled away in the harmattan winds.

As soon as the door was closed and bolted, Grace announced, "I refuse to marry Mr. Hathaway!"

Joseph Winslow stopped still. Never in his twenty-one years with Lingongo had he dared speak to her in such a way. Oh, he had wanted to. How many times he had wanted to! But the most he had risked was a mumbled opinion under his breath. Nor had Grace openly contradicted her mother before. But the harmattan winds blew harder than ever. They rattled the shutters and sent jackfruit clattering down onto the roof. And when such a wind blows, anything can happen.

"And just who are you to tell me what you will and will not do?" Lingongo challenged.

"It's my life, Mother, and I ... I—"

I will what? Grace thought with a sudden jolt of despair. Undoubtedly, the same question occurred to her mother because a mocking sneer curved Lingongo's mouth into a twisted grin, and all Grace's bravery failed her.

"Do you really think I will allow you to stay here forever, playing the part of a useless idler?" Lingongo demanded. "Why should you live like a princess when you bring absolutely nothing to my house? Even a princess must do her part, Grace. Especially a princess."

Grace opened her mouth to answer, but Lingongo wasn't finished. Her voice dripped with bitterness as she said, "You, with your washed-out skin and the color of rust in your hair! You, with your English clothes and English ways and English talk. Oh, yes, Grace, you will marry Mr. Hathaway. You will marry the snake. You will because I command it of you!"


Excerpted from The Call of Zulina - Grace in Africa Series #1 by Kay Marshall Strom Copyright © 2009 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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The Call of Zulina 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a good book, anxious to read the other books to see where the characters wind up. Not a preachy book, but faith does come to play.
KathiMacias1 More than 1 year ago
Few books call so poignantly to that deep place within us as The Call of Zulina by Kay Marshall Strom. Even as the Scriptures tell us that "deep calls to deep," so do the convicting words of this epic tale call to the God-given conscience within us, that part of us that is stamped with the very image of God and that forbids us to love with anything less than our very lives. From the moment we first meet the lovely but naive Grace Winslow to the instant when we see that noble and selfless image of God rise up from deep within her, we find ourselves challenged to that same depth of commitment. This is more than an entertaining story, though it is that. But it is also a call to arms, a challenge to "fight the good fight" without compromise or lukewarm faith. The Call of Zulina is a call to believers everywhere to remember that there is no greater love than to lay down our life for our friends...and if need be, our enemies as well.
Ausjenny More than 1 year ago
This is a good book. This is an interesting subject with Grace a daughter of a Black Princess and White slave trader but neither black or white. How Kay weaves the story its interesting and very captivating. I was crying at times with emotion and the book had me captivated. This is a moving book and deal in a real way about slavery and the way it was looked on. After reading books like this it just shows how bad slavery was and the whole slave trade and made me feel so sad for those people. There is alot of emotion and true courage in this book and I would recommend everyone read it. Its the type of story that needs to be read so we don't forget what did happen but at the same time make sure it never happens again. Thanks Kay for a wonderful thought provoking and emotional book cant wait for book 2.
Janna6 More than 1 year ago
I am so excited to see the variety of settings and plot lines in Christian fiction that I have been reading lately! "The Call of Zulina" is a perfect example of originality in writing. The author, Kay Marshall Strom, got the idea for some of the main characters when she was writing a biography of John Newton. She then developed this amazing story about Grace Winslow, the daughter of a white English sea captain and a black African princess. They are living in Africa, but Grace never really sees life outside their home (or compound). Consequently she has no concept of what is really going on around her, especially the fact that her father and mother run one of the largest slaving houses in the area. When she realizes that her parents are going to marry her off to a horrible man that she detests, just because he has good business holdings, she decides to run away. The only problem is she runs right into slavery of her own, imprisonment and then when her captors try and ransom her, she finds abandonment at the hands of her parents. She must decide which blood runs stronger in her veins, the English or the African. And she must come to terms with the fact that she will never be accepted by either side, especially her mother and father. When the slave revolt happens, where will she be? This story was so original that I absolutely couldn't assume or predict anything - I loved that! The hardest part of it for me as a mother of six was the sheer evilness of her own mother. Revenge runs so strongly in her veins that she doesn't hesitate to not only leave her daughter for dead, but she wants to personally make sure that she and any she cares about are all dead. I would say that is not realistic, except that it makes perfect sense in the context of her own upbringing and how her own father sacrificed her to a white man for his own advances. I am really looking forward to book #2 in this series. Great historical fiction in a new setting and with a new story!
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really enjoyed this book
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This book is an eye-opener as to how slaves were treated. This is why I love historical fiction. I did not like studying history in school, but to learn it this way is interesting and easy.
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songbirdsue More than 1 year ago
I have wanted to read this book for a while. I think that the premise is very sound and intriguing. The idea of a ½ African ½ English girl torn between two worlds has a lot of potential. I did not however feel that it drew on even a fraction of it. It never seemed to go anywhere. The characters did not develop for me and it just seemed to jump around a lot. There was a lot of violence that did not seem to accomplish anything and none of the relationships that you would expect to develop happened. A bit disappointing for me.
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ChristysBookBlog More than 1 year ago
The Call of Zulina by Kay Marshall Strom is book one of the Grace in Africa series. Living in Africa in 1787, Grace Winslow has been raised with all of the finer things in life; education, beautiful clothing, and a luxurious home, but she's lacking the one thing that matters most: freedom. The daughter of an African princess and white slave trader, she's trapped between two worlds. In an attempt to escape from betrothal to a repugnant man, she flees the family compound only to be captured as used as a pawn between the tribes fighting for their freedom and her parents desire for wealth and power. Grace's growth throughout the story is truly amazing. She starts out as a young, naive woman convinced that just around the corner is someone who can rescue her, but after witnessing and experiencing unimaginable violence, she starts to become a strong, spirited woman of God. Strom perfectly renders the utter hopelessness of the slaves in the fortress of Zulina. There is no way out and no place to go if they could escape. The cover of the book is misleading as it looks like a standard historical romance, but this book is anything but with its unflinching depiction of slavery and the characters' fight for hope. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.
JEMorris More than 1 year ago
Kay Marshall Strom's new novel Call of Zulina (the first in the "Grace in Africa" series) dives head first into a time and place few of us know much about, and fewer care to confront. The story gets its inspiration from a place known as Goree Island in the country of Senegal in West Africa, a hub of the slave trade to Britain and America in the late 1700s. Millions of men, women, and children languished there in chains until enough salable souls collected to fill a slave ship. The conditions weren't suitable for dogs, let alone human beings. In Kay's fictionalized story, young Grace Winslow lives in naive luxury in the shadow of Zulina, the slave fortress owned by her British father and her African princess mother. Her parents' marriage of convenience is loveless and abusive, a lifestyle that Grace is determined not to repeat in spite of her father's wishes that she marry a wealthy but boorish Englishman. Grace's bi-racial state is another enigma in an environment where most blacks are slaves and most whites own them. Where and with whom does Grace belong? Her escape from the family compound leads her on the journey to answer that question. But in the process, she discovers much more than she had expected-or wanted-to know. The plot is fast-paced and, at times, the book was hard to put down. Strom has an uncanny way of making a setting come alive with her wonderful, imaginative descriptions. I could easily feel the "blast of hot wind" that "gusted in the faraway voices of the ntumpane-the talking drums." Occasionally, I fumbled with some "head hopping" within a scene or chapter, but that certainly didn't deter me from wanting to know what would happen to Grace, and how she would escape the dismal dungeon of Zulina. Although the story addresses some horrific human indignities and cruelties, Strom writes so graciously and passionately that one feels more informed and edified than ashamed of being white. The message of redemption weaves its way throughout the storyline as her characters show us hope in the midst of hopelessness-and virtue that can rise above evil. The book is certainly appropriate for teens and adults-and recommendable as an introduction to the realities of slavery, both past and present. The author's Christian worldview is evident but not overt, giving the book good crossover appeal.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1787 in the Gold Coast of West Africa, Grace is the adult daughter of English sea captain Joseph Winslow and African Princess Lingongo. Grace's maternal grandfather forced her mom into a marriage of convenience in order to keep his people safe from the slave trafficking. Seeing no wrong with having slaves or forcing his daughter into marital servitude, Joseph informs Grace and Lingongo he has arranged her marriage to haughty pretentious, English visitor Mr. Hathaway; who firmly believes his people and nation are doing a favor with the Africans. Not only does she reject the snobbish superiority of her intended, Grace recently learns the family business is slave trading that has given her a very high standard of living to include her beloved enslaved Mama Muco to her horror and shame. Grace also realizes in some ways she and her mom are domestic slaves with no choices. She decides to take a choice as she flees into the night only to become embroiled by the passionate plea for freedom of Cabeto as he leads a slave revolt against their masters and traders at Zulina. Timely with Congress working the long overdue apology, this is a strong look at the full slave trade business from deals of all sorts and the treatment of the enslaved. The cast is solid on both sides of the issue; especially surprisingly the Europeans. It is not just the traffickers who see it as the divine right of the superior white man's burden to "care" for these human animals. The romance between aptly named Grace (as noted in the introduction John Newton went from slave transporter to abolitionist to Amazing Grace hymn writer) and Cabeto seems unneeded and forced. Still fans will appreciate this powerful realistic look at the destructiveness of slavery as Kay Marshall Strom states Zulina is Goree Island in Senegal, enhancing the case we must never forget less we repeat the horrific indignities. Harriet Klausner
TLJo More than 1 year ago