The Black Crescent

The Black Crescent


Hamou Badi is born in a mountain village with the magical signs of the zouhry on his hands. In Morocco, the zouhry is a figure of legend, a child of both humans and djinns, capable of finding all manner of treasure: lost objects, hidden water.

But instead, Hamou finds a body.

This unsolved murder instils in Hamou a deep desire for order and justice: he trains as an officer of the law, working for the French in Casablanca. But the city is trapped in the turmoil of the nationalist uprising, and soon he will be forced to choose between all he knows and all he loves...

Our Review


"He was a creature between two worlds, who didn't fit anywhere at all."

The Black Crescent is about a young man living in French occupied Casablanca during the 1950's. This was an area of history I knew absolutely nothing about and I was impressed by the way Johnson's sharp imagery helped me, the reader, to picture the scenes playing out on the page before me. 

Hamou Badi grew up in the small mountain village of Tiziane. A traditional village where the natural and the supernatural combine, where djinns and amulets are not merely myths and legends, but aspects of daily life. 

Hamou is a bit of a rebel, a big fish in a small pond, until the day he discovers a woman's body whilst out on a walk with his younger cousin Moha. The authorities reaction to this discovery set Hamou on course to pursue justice for the rest of his life. 

In 1955 Hamou is living in a rented room in Casablanca, relying on his kind neighbours for food, and on the French occupiers for income. 

"He was Hamou Badi - gangleader, fruit-stealer, unhobbler of the donkeys, catapult-maker  and general promoter of chaos- and he resented the French who occupied his country with a passion. And now here he was, paid to keep order for the very regime he had so disliked. French money was sent home to his mother, French money paid for his rent, his cigarettes, his visits to the cinema, for his tea, his food, his clothes, his newspapers and his radio, everything that made his life worth living." 

During the course of the book, the tension between the French and the Morrocans mounts and the resulting fallout makes for one hell of a book.Hamou's story has all the more impact because he feels himself at war between the two sides. 

"You know, Hamou, you stand with a foot in worlds that are moving further apart by the day. Sooner or later, you'll have to come down on or the other you'll find yourself falling between them." 

Hamou's story was an incredible one, not one I will soon forget. 


Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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