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One Ocean, Two Seas, Three Continents (Un océan, deux mers, trois continents)

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Original Language: French | 272 pp. | January 2018

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, Nordic, and North American Rights

Selected for the Prix de Trouville-Pavillon Augustine

LITERARY FICTION

Wilfried N’Sondé imaginatively recreates the historical figure of the first African ambassador to the Vatican, who died in Rome in 1608, filling in the blanks to tell his little-known life story.

In the early 17th century, Nsaku Ne Vunda, who is ordained a priest and baptized Dom Antonio Manuel, is appointed by the king of the Bakongos as his ambassador to the pope with the mission of opposing the slave trade. As he bids farewell to his native Kongo natal and sets out on his long voyage to Rome, he is unaware that he will first be taken via the New World and that the boat in which he is sailing is, in reality, a slave ship. In a true test of his faith in God and his fellow man, Dom Antonio Manuel experiences an incredible series of adventures and setbacks as he travels from Africa to Brazil and the Caribbean, and finally to Italy via the Iberian peninsula and the Mediterranean. The story of a Congolese Candide exploring the world, Un océan, deux mers, trois continents denounces the horrors of a dark and superstitious age but, rather than descending into bleakness, finds space to exalt beauty and hope.