The Legends of Lainjin series concludes in the pre-contact village of Nahn Madol.
The Legends of Lainjin series concludes in the pre-contact village of Nahn Madol. The aging hero Lainjin sails there from his home on Lae Atoll, pursuing his daughter and Ijokelekel, a young man with bold plans to lead a revolt in Pohnpei. When Lainjin arrives, he discovers that the city, now ruled by a tyrannical leader, has changed.
Although multiple oral versions of Ijokelekel's story exist, all conclude that he ended the reign of the Saudeleurs, the hereditary rulers of Pohnpei.
Pohnpeians settled this area around 2,000 years ago, and Nahn Madol -"the ancient Venice of the Pacific"- was built between AD 800 and 1500. For centuries, Saudeleurs ruled over the city, once a thriving crossroads with 129 structures built with gigantic basaltic crystals cleaved from the cliffs of Pohnpei island. The islanders transported these multi-ton crystals by raft to a reef flat off the island's east coast, where the canals between these mammoth structures could flood with the tides. This ancient city, now a National Historic Landmark, still exists and can be visited.
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “The Fall of the Saudeleurs” by Gerald R Knight.]
5 out of 5 stars
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The Fall of the Saudeleurs by Gerald R. Knight is Book Four in The Legends of Lainjin series. Ijokelekel’s mother had always told him he had a pali named Pako that would teach him all he needed to know to survive. Once he found Pako, he was to give him a lime and tell him he was the son of Nahn Sapwe. Lañinpo tries to tell Ijokelekel that his mother’s death was an accident, but he believes the little akebu killed her. Blaming the akebu and the Saudeleur because they brought cannibals to Pophnpei, Ijokelekel steals Lañinpo’s canoe to hunt down Pako to learn how to fight the Saudeleur and return his stone village to the commoners for whom their ancestors had built it. Does Ijokelekel successfully avenge his mother’s death and return the village to the commoners? What are an akebu and a pali?
Gerald R. Knight did an excellent job of tying Ijokelekel’s mother’s death in a previous book in the series into this one, keeping the story flowing from one book to the next. His skill in tying each series book to the next one allows readers to read the books in any order they wish. I appreciated that the chants used by the characters were in italics to separate them from the rest of the narrative. The author provided footnotes at the bottom of each page, a glossary, and a bibliography to help readers understand unfamiliar words or actions performed by the natives in the Marshall Islands. Each character is fully developed, from the descriptions of their tattoos to their manner of dress and personality. This thought-provoking book has many moral lessons that the island natives lived by. One of my favorites was about the younger generation having to learn from the older generation before adding their own stories and making their own mistakes. The characters’ navigation of canoes in the ocean, their primitive weapons, reliance on coconuts, fearlessness in swimming with sharks, and other customs like “jib in jowi” were interesting to read.
I found no negatives in this book. There are difficult words to understand, but as I said, the author has defined them the first time they are used and then again in the glossary. Sometimes, I forgot them and had to refer to their references, but I consider that a personal problem and not a negative aspect of the book. The story’s ending came as a complete surprise, but I should have seen it coming.
This well-written book’s smooth-flowing and action-packed plot allows me to give it 5 out of 5 stars. I found no reason to give this professionally edited book a lower rating because it was a joy to read.
Anyone interested in reading historical fiction about the Marshall Islands will enjoy this book. I caution readers that this book is about cannibalism and has gory and descriptive sexual content. Sexual acts are not described; however, body parts and enticement activities are vividly described.