The Bottom Line: An expertly wrought political thriller that grabs immediately and demands attention. Highly recommended.
Blood Brothers is about many things, including organized crime, conservation, politics, immigration and more. At its core, it’s an engrossing tale of two sets of adult brothers. The book’s heroes are Sasha and Dumi McDaniels. Sasha is white, and Dumi, who is his adopted brother, is black. Their parents were American documentary filmmakers, and the book’s opening chapters detail their doomed effort to film elephant poaching in Botswana in what can be only described as a highly cinematic, edge-of-your-seat narrative style. Their parents’ tragic fate is the catalyst for much of the book’s action-packed plot, which, among other things, finds the McDaniels brothers becoming first degree blackbelts by the age of 15.
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, the Price Brothers – Gil and Declane – are creating a criminal and political powerhouse in California. The Price family is obsessed by money and power, owning numerous high-end properties, fast food franchises, brokerages, a trucking firm and more. Declane is essentially a high-end gangster, while Gil – who has ascended from the Mayor of Monrovia to the U.S. Senate – is gearing up for a run at the white house as an alt-right candidate. Early in the book, an attractive, pivotal character named Misty characterizes him as, “that radical Senator who is trying to run for President and has put himself on the map by insulting Mexicans and immigrants in general.” It’s a pretty good summation, but as a villain, he proves to have even more range.
To say much more about how the four brothers’ lives intertwine would be to spoil much of the fun, but suffice to say that author Sebati Edward Mafate expertly weaves their destinies together across hundreds of pages. While the book is fictional, readers will recognize many of the story’s themes, especially environmental and political issues, from international headlines. That’s especially true as some of the Price family’s adventures (and misadventures) play out.
While Mafate has much to say in this sophisticated and nuanced book, it’s also endlessly entertaining. As is evident from the book’s length, he’s hardly an economical wordsmith, preferring a more flamboyant style of prose. Readers will find themselves underlining plenty of clever phrases (“dumb luck of the highest order”) throughout. Expect palpable action scenes, high-stakes adventure and a large cast that Mafate seems to juggle with ease.