Official Review: Africa Reclaimed by Peter D. Cimini

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
Post Reply
User avatar
Renu G
Posts: 716
Joined: 06 Mar 2019, 01:32
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 20
Currently Reading: Sherlock and I Return The presentation of Additional Medical Mysteries
Bookshelf Size: 123
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-renu-g.html
Latest Review: Christianity Without Insanity by Boyd C. Purcell

Official Review: Africa Reclaimed by Peter D. Cimini

Post by Renu G » 29 Jul 2019, 15:50

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Africa Reclaimed" by Peter D. Cimini.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Africa Reclaimed: One Man’s Quest to Eliminate African Poverty is a historical fiction novel authored by Peter D. Cimini. I must admit that this is the first time I have been able to truly appreciate the uniqueness of this genre. Otherwise, I used to feel that writers should not recreate historical events and personalities. The book has a didactic tone and is very entertaining. It stirs the reader to reflect on religious as well as social issues and be involved in making the world a better place.

The central character is an Indonesian cardinal who becomes Pope Francis Xavier. His election is manipulated by three cardinals chosen by the previous pope who resigns due to health reasons. The new pontiff finds himself alone in his office with cardboard boxes everywhere and no place for visitors to sit. There is nobody to ask him whether he is hungry, and he falls asleep in his chair. On the next day, he finds his way to the Vatican cafeteria where the people recognize him. The former pope comes to his rescue and helps him with the transition. The new pope appoints his childhood friend from Indonesia, Fr Budi Susanto, as his secretary. They research the history of the terms ex cathedra and papal infallibility. Finally, after a lot of inspiration and perspiration, Pope Francis declares poverty as immoral. As the story progresses, the author does an excellent job with the development of these important characters, especially the emotional struggles they must overcome.

The pontiff comes up with a unique plan to auction the Vatican’s collection of treasures (associated with European culture and ecclesiastical history) to collect funds for a long-term project called Build Africa Together (B.A.T.). It is meant to build “a strong African middle-class society.” Several retired political and ecclesiastical leaders collaborate with Pope Francis in this endeavor. It is not without problems: incorrect estimates of the expenditure involved for irrigating the deserts, a hilarious plan to trap warlords and gang leaders in Somalia that is a success as well as failure, false accusations of corruption in the dealings, an archbishop secretly sowing dissent against the pontiff, and more. The recent debates between conservatives and liberals, rumors about a gay lobby in the Vatican, etc., are also reflected in the story.

I read this novel with a lot of interest and enjoyed every page and dialogue. I could imagine the scenes very clearly as if it was a movie. The characters were so funny that it was impossible to control my laughter until I reached the middle of the story. Then the seriousness set in, and I became very thoughtful. Overall, it seemed like a comedy, but there were moments I wept in sorrow due to tragic events and had tears of joy when people concretely expressed solidarity towards the poor. Their lives became an exegesis (living) of the gospel. The author’s knowledge and expertise in so many subjects are amazing. He knows the workings of the Catholic Church, theological trends and controversies, current world events, the scourge of terrorism, the nitty-gritty of working in developing countries, their cultures, and so on.

Despite the excellence of this work, I have two criticisms. Firstly, the book has several grammatical errors. I read a draft copy and hope that the published version has been professionally formatted and edited. Secondly, I noticed the relative absence of women in the story.

After careful and critical analysis of the contents, I give Africa Reclaimed a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I did not give a higher rating because of the two reasons mentioned above. I did not give a lower rating since it is an excellent novel, and I enjoyed reading it. I am pleased to recommend it to Catholic leaders, social workers, politicians, teachers, health workers, and anyone interested in the developing world.

******
Africa Reclaimed
View: on Bookshelves

Wambui-nj
Posts: 247
Joined: 07 Apr 2019, 08:11
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 51
Favorite Book: Half of a Yellow Sun
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 125
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-wambui-nj.html
Latest Review: The Chauvinist's Guide to Modern Romance by Morris Rollins

Post by Wambui-nj » 10 Aug 2019, 12:49

Sounds interesting though I don't like historical fiction. And I hope the grammatical errors ate corrected on the final copy. Great review.

User avatar
djr6090
Posts: 16
Joined: 29 Jun 2019, 10:15
2019 Reading Goal: 40
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 75
Currently Reading: The Reel Sisters
Bookshelf Size: 38
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-djr6090.html
Latest Review: The Fox by M. N. J. Butler

Post by djr6090 » 10 Aug 2019, 16:38

Interesting premise. Did you know that the concept of poverty for clerics was considered revolutionary in the Middle Ages?

User avatar
Renu G
Posts: 716
Joined: 06 Mar 2019, 01:32
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 20
Currently Reading: Sherlock and I Return The presentation of Additional Medical Mysteries
Bookshelf Size: 123
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-renu-g.html
Latest Review: Christianity Without Insanity by Boyd C. Purcell

Post by Renu G » 10 Aug 2019, 21:56

djr6090 wrote:
10 Aug 2019, 16:38
Interesting premise. Did you know that the concept of poverty for clerics was considered revolutionary in the Middle Ages?
It was St Francis of Assisi who brought the revolution of poverty in the Middle Ages. He was a deacon.

User avatar
djr6090
Posts: 16
Joined: 29 Jun 2019, 10:15
2019 Reading Goal: 40
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 75
Currently Reading: The Reel Sisters
Bookshelf Size: 38
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-djr6090.html
Latest Review: The Fox by M. N. J. Butler

Post by djr6090 » 11 Aug 2019, 12:52

Right you are. St Francis was a monk, and not a very popular one with his sect. I wonder how the current church reconciles vows of poverty against the extreme wealth of the Vatican. Does the author seem to have leanings one way or the other?

User avatar
Michelle Fred
Posts: 232
Joined: 19 Mar 2019, 05:19
Favorite Book: Sugar & Spice
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 26
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-michelle-fred.html
Latest Review: Who Told You That You Were Naked? by William Combs

Post by Michelle Fred » 11 Aug 2019, 15:38

I find this book appealing because I am African, and I will like to know the author's thoughts and proposed solutions to poverty in Africa. Albeit fictional.

User avatar
OuKoyoo
Posts: 113
Joined: 20 Jul 2019, 17:01
2019 Reading Goal: 40
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 5
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 17
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-oukoyoo.html
Latest Review: Do I Need a Will or a Trust by Taylor Willingham

Post by OuKoyoo » 12 Aug 2019, 06:47

I love historical fiction and I think this would be an interesting read for me. Thank you for the review.

kdstrack
Posts: 3373
Joined: 10 May 2017, 19:49
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 80
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 106
Currently Reading: The Last Bush Pilots
Bookshelf Size: 263
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kdstrack.html
Latest Review: Our Time Will Come by Jean Gallant Marcoux

Post by kdstrack » 12 Aug 2019, 21:41

The title made me think this might be a humorous read! It sounds like the author did a good job of transitioning the reader from humor to more serious matters. The ability of the author to tie these important issues to humor help settle them into the readers' mind! This looks like an interesting author to investigate. Thanks for the compelling review!

User avatar
CatInTheHat
Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 2622
Joined: 31 May 2016, 11:53
2019 Reading Goal: 75
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 32
Favorite Book: Cry the Beloved Country
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 501
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-catinthehat.html
Latest Review: Bittersweet by Lloyd R Free
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU
Publishing Contest Votes: 0

Post by CatInTheHat » 13 Aug 2019, 12:27

djr6090 wrote:
11 Aug 2019, 12:52
Right you are. St Francis was a monk, and not a very popular one with his sect. I wonder how the current church reconciles vows of poverty against the extreme wealth of the Vatican. Does the author seem to have leanings one way or the other?
That is an interesting question. I have wanted to ask Catholic friends but could never find a sensitive way to ask.
Life without a good book is something the CatInTheHat cannot imagine.

User avatar
Renu G
Posts: 716
Joined: 06 Mar 2019, 01:32
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 20
Currently Reading: Sherlock and I Return The presentation of Additional Medical Mysteries
Bookshelf Size: 123
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-renu-g.html
Latest Review: Christianity Without Insanity by Boyd C. Purcell

Post by Renu G » 13 Aug 2019, 13:49

CatInTheHat wrote:
13 Aug 2019, 12:27
djr6090 wrote:
11 Aug 2019, 12:52
Right you are. St Francis was a monk, and not a very popular one with his sect. I wonder how the current church reconciles vows of poverty against the extreme wealth of the Vatican. Does the author seem to have leanings one way or the other?
That is an interesting question. I have wanted to ask Catholic friends but could never find a sensitive way to ask.
There's a difference between diocesan clergy and monks who may also be ordained as deacons and priests. Diocesan priests don't take a vow of poverty. Anyway, the institutions do hold a lot of wealth. The current Pope is working on these issues. In fact, just two days ago, he changed the archaic statutes of the Vatican bank.

Dee_218
Posts: 141
Joined: 24 May 2019, 19:50
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 19
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dee-218.html
Latest Review: Empowered by Dominica Lumazar

Post by Dee_218 » Today, 05:23

I am not a historical fiction fan. Sounds like the author put in a lot of effort to make this book appealing albeit grammatical errors. Thank you.

Post Reply

Return to “Historical Fiction”