The book is an historical novel that tells of the origins of the Zulu nation, and the birth, rise to power and death of King Shaka ka Senzangakhona, also known as Shaka Zulu, most notable amongst a long line of remarkable monarchs. The author describes his boyhood years, assumption of the Zulu leadership, and defeat and incorporation of numerous Natal and Zululand tribes and clans. It also deals with his relations with the sometimes manipulative and devious Port Natal traders, and assassination after the loss of his mother Nandi brought on increasing, schizophrenic mood swings that worked to the detriment of the nation as a whole.

The author has based this book on years of detailed research, with much reliance on older sources such as the James Stuart Archives and A.T. Bryant. It also reflects the work of other reputable, more recent authors. As a novel, it tracks the historical record as accurately as feasible, and relies on probability rather than fantasy and pure imagination where the dictates of novel construction demand. The result has been a lively interpretation.

The author has endeavoured to address directly the more robust and harsh aspects of the king’s behaviour, but to also give credit where it is due; that is, to reflect on his generosity, nobility, and even compassion where instances are available in the historical record.

alex coutts shaka book
Title: Shaka, The Story of a Zulu King
Author: Alex Coutts
Genre: Historical Novel
Length: 225 pgs