Mia Couto: A Espada e a Azagaia (The Sword and the Spear)

The latest addition to my website is Mia Couto‘s A Espada e a Azagaia (The Sword and the Spear). This the second book in his Sands of the Emperor trilogy about Portugal’s colonial war in Mozambique in the nineteenth century. It follows on from the first one and continues the story of Sergeant de Melo, a Portuguese soldier sent to a remote outpost in what is now Mozambique and his relationship with Imani, a local woman. At the end of the previous book, de Melo had been injured and Imani and others are taking him to a Portuguese mission where he can get treatment. We follow their journey and what happens when they get to the mission but we are also following the Portuguese army’s hesitant attack on the Gaza Empire under Gungunhana. However once Captain Joaquim Augusto Mouzinho de Albuquerque takes over, he makes progress, despite having been ordered to pull back. However, Couto is more interested in the stories of the main characters than military events (though he certainly does not ignore these) and it these where the focus is, particularly the relationship between Sergeant de Melo and the Chopi woman Imani.

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