The Black Brigade
Mohamed Mansi Qandil
The Black Brigade, set between 1863 and 1867, is a novel about love, war and destiny. The French emperor, Napoleon III, makes an agreement with Khedive Said of Egypt to transport hundreds of black slave fighters to Mexico. There, they are to be handed over to Maximilian, brother of the Austrian emperor Leopold, who travels to Mexico with his young wife Carlota amidst disturbances and revolution. The novel follows the adventures of Al-Aasi, a black slave who defies the slave traders and becomes a leader of a group of the slaves. Following a series of hardships whilst he travels from Sudan to Mexico, Al-Aasi then becomes Empress Carlota’s personal bodyguard and finally plays a role in the French Revolution and Paris Commune of 1867.