author: Yann Fastier

ages: 12+

288 pages



The King's Amazones

  • A great novel about war and colonization that sheds light on forgotten African heroines: the female army of Dahomey.

    1892, Western Africa, Dahomey.

    In order to assert its influence against Germany who backed the army of the king of Dahomey, France sent troops to this independent kingdom, which later became a colony and is now called Benin.

    The doctor of this expeditionary force takes his son, Alex, with him, in order to "make a man out of him". The army of the king of Dahomey was known and feared for its famous warriors of unequalled courage, called "the king's amazons" by the Europeans.


    During a fight, Alex, panic-stricken, runs away and falls in a deep hole, where Agosi, a young female enemy, has also fallen. She lets Alex heal her leg, before helping him out of their trap and then disappearing into the forest. She then returns to the capital of the kingdom and is given the mission to kill the king. But Agosì, who no longer wants to receive orders or belong to a faction she hasn't chosen, decides to flee and return to the forest to seek her freedom.

    On the front, the French army finally breaks the Dahomean forces and enter the capital as King Behanzin flees. Alex, who has lost part of his innocence decides to return to France stricken by the same fierce will for independence as his friend Agosì's.

    By author of bestselling and awarded The Fox and the Crown.


    Press praise:

    "A deeply human novel about the absurdity of war and colonial conquest violence."

    - Jeune Afrique


    "Two teenagers left to dark destinies, without having their say. None of them has chosen their situations, but both of them will fight in this absurd colonial war led by soldiers obeying to cowardly leaders’ orders, in cahoots with shady traffickers. (..) Like at war, violence, sweet moments, poetry, delicacy, compassion, friendship and love intertwine."

    - Opalivres


    "The author makes two wonderful portraits, with all their complexity, beset by doubts and regrets, hoping to live the lives they’ve dreamt of in spite of the violence they suffer and inflict."

    - Un livre dans ma valise


    "Huge favourite! This novel is necessary and deals with many important themes. To be placed in all teenagers’ hands."

    - Librairie le Failler