1899 – Growing up in Bontok, a village set deep in the Philippine mountains, Samkad is surrounded by nature and leads a life filled with family, love and tradition. The place he calls home is yet to be touched by the invaders he hears about in night time tales spoken in whispers by the Ancients.
About to ‘come of age’, he will soon leave his childhood years behind and become a man. Samkad must prove his worth to his father and those that protect him in order to go through the life-changing ritual. His attempts to persuade them that he is ready, are repeatedly denied as Samkad and his friends, Luki and Tambul, find themselves in a predicament that puts the villagers and their way of life in jeopardy.
The truth eventually comes out, forcing his father on a pilgrimage to bring back the answer to Samkad’s prayers – his friend Kinyo. Only once they are reunited will the spirits consent to his rite of passage. Separated at birth, Kinyo not only comes back to the village he left all those years ago, he brings an American friend with him.
Delighted and somewhat curious of the visitor to their village, the joyous celebration of his arrival soon turns into terror. Betrayed by American soldiers and with no way out, they have no choice but to follow orders. Samkad soon realises that leaving the village unprotected was a disastrous decision for them all.
Constantly rooting for Samkad and his friends, I found myself unable to put Bone Talk down. Every page grabbed me into his world and beyond. Would I have been so brave and quick-witted to survive such a journey? I doubt it. Even now, Samkad, Luki and all the well-crafted characters in this novel, still remain in my thoughts long after I finished this astounding book.
Candy Gourlay‘s prose takes the reader by the hand beckoning them on Samkad’s journey. They will feel every stone under their feet, every whisper from the trees and every laughter and tear shed as they delve deeper and deeper into the book. Only once the last page has been read will they come up for air, wondering how they will ever read anything quite like it again.
Read My Book Corner’s interview with Candy Gourlay. She shares her writing tips, current favourite reads and Bone Talk‘s journey to publication.