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Olive the Lionheart: Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman's Journey into the Heart of Africa (Hardcover)
"Brad Ricca’s Olive MacLeod is my favorite sort of woman from history—bold and unconventional, utterly unsinkable—and her story is so full of adventure and acts of courage, it’s hard to believe she actually lived. And yet she did! Brad Ricca has found a heroine for the ages, and written her tale with a winning combination of accuracy and imagination." — Paula McLain, author of Love and Ruin and The Paris Wife
From the Edgar-nominated author of the bestselling Mrs. Sherlock Holmes comes the true story of a woman's quest to Africa in the 1900s to find her missing fiancé, and the adventure that ensues.
In 1910, Olive MacLeod, a thirty-year-old, redheaded Scottish aristocrat, received word that her fiancé, the famous naturalist Boyd Alexander, was missing in Africa.
So she went to find him.
Olive the Lionheart is the thrilling true story of her astonishing journey. In jungles, swamps, cities, and deserts, Olive and her two companions, the Talbots, come face-to-face with cobras and crocodiles, wise native chiefs, a murderous leopard cult, a haunted forest, and even two adorable lion cubs that she adopts as her own. Making her way in a pair of ill-fitting boots, Olive awakens to the many forces around her, from shadowy colonial powers to an invisible Islamic warlord who may hold the key to Boyd’s disappearance. As these secrets begin to unravel, all of Olive’s assumptions prove wrong and she is forced to confront the darkest, most shocking secret of all: why she really came to Africa in the first place.
Drawing on Olive’s own letters and secret diaries, Olive the Lionheart is a love story that defies all boundaries, set against the backdrop of a beautiful, unconquerable Africa.
This book is not for sale in the United Kingdom.
About the Author
BRAD RICCA earned his Ph.D. in English from Case Western Reserve University where he currently teaches. The author of Super Boys, he has spoken on comics at various schools and museums, and he has been interviewed about comics topics by The New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, and All Things Considered on NPR. His film Last Son won a 2010 Silver Ace Award at the Las Vegas International Film Festival. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
*Christian Science Monitor "10 Best Books of August" pick*
“Fans of women’s history and adventure stories will cheer this engrossing account.” —Publishers Weekly
“Olive the Lionheart has it all – secret chambers, lost love, and the dwelling place of a devil. Ricca mines emotions and real fears in this incredible true story.” —Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington
"Brad Ricca’s Olive MacLeod is my favorite sort of woman from history—bold and unconventional, utterly unsinkable—and her story is so full of adventure and acts of courage, it’s hard to believe she actually lived. And yet she did! Brad Ricca has found a heroine for the ages, and written her tale with a winning combination of accuracy and imagination." —Paula McLain, author of Love and Ruin and The Paris Wife
"Ricca makes the most of this engaging story." —Booklist
"[Ricca] successfully conveys the powerful, nearly hallucinatory state of grief that MacLeod must have endured over the course of her journey. A swift-moving re-creation of an intrepid, rare spirit of her age." —Kirkus Reviews
"This incredible true story of one woman's quest to find her missing fiancé is the perfect summer adventure book. In 1910, Scottish aristocrat Olive MacLeod received word that her fiancé, the famed naturalist Boyd Alexander, was missing in Africa. So, she went to find him. Though there are wild animals to fight and inhospitable forests to whack through, MacLeod's incredible journey becomes even stranger as she goes on." —Town & Country
"Olive the Lionheart presents an immersive portrait of a remarkable, largely unheralded individual." —Smithsomian Magazine
"Olive the Lionheart is a harrowing and fascinating tale of a woman who broke rules and hearts as she blazed trails in a world of change." —bookreporter