Seeing the Light through Black Death: Salvation in the African Savanna
by Laurence W. Trotter II
Trafford Publishing

"I used to believe that life was the result of being either lucky, coincidental or earned through plain old-fashioned hard work."

Growing up in the small town of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the author delves into his childhood, college years at the University of Wisconsin, and rise to affluence in his adult years. While the work certainly contains biographical elements, its crux revolves around the juxtaposition of the discovery of faith with a seemingly certain-death event.

With chapters divided into short sections, and scripture verses gracing many of the pages, the reading experience is seamless and easy. More importantly, the reader is left upon a cliffhanger, pondering the outcome of the author's encounter with the two-thousand-pound Cape buffalo that the African people nicknames "Black Death." Meanwhile, the reader learns about the writer's upbringing, from teaching skiing and the rowing prowess that resulted in a national championship to completing a ten-week Alpha course, which he compares to getting a diploma in Christian discipleship.

Interestingly, the author highlights what no one wants to hear: everyone has that Cape buffalo in their lives, the moment that brings them to the realization that they must walk in the steps of the Lord. Where a bow and arrow were moot, a small brown Bible was the difference between life and death for the author, an unquestionable turning point to faith and healing, both physical and spiritual. In the process of an extensive recovery, the author uses verses to provide lessons on the steps one can take to their own salvation and finding their own "heaven on earth." From his own experience, the author not only sheds light on faith but sparks a pertinent conversation on the dynamic between trophy hunting versus being a steward of wildlife. Overall, the memoir is engaging throughout and delivers a unique, refreshing spin on prototypical faith-based works.

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