Charm in Timbuktu

The hero is Theo a young expert working with the FAO in Timbuktu, who has to return to France because of his brother’s death. He finds that he has fallen in love with his sister-in-law but can’t bring himself to tell her this, and helplessly watches her become bewitched by the charm of the Touareg chieftain, Si Salah, whose son she has been looking after during his convalescence in Paris.


Si Salah’s young wife attempts to get rid of her in the well-known traditional way. Then, mad with jealousy during an excursion into the desert, wherein Si Salah seduces the French lady, with his burning eyes, the scorned wife murders her rival at night-time, without the husband or the camel-drivers hearing anything.


This romantic story, in a bi-cultural setting, depicts the everyday life of the Tamacheqs and touches on the socio-economic and cultural problems in this corner of the Sahel at the time of the first touareg rebellion. Nothing remains but the vague memory of René Caillié’s expedition, in the absence of traces of the Songhaï Empire of Timbuktu in the 14th century – when it was “The city of 333 saints”, and was esteemed the cultural and economic center of the great bend of the Niger, until the Moroccan invasions of the 16th century.


Text in search of a publisher.