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A Sacred Text

A 48-page comic, self-published, 2002.
Justin Hall has begun to self-publish a new series, True Travel Tales.

Category: historical.

Author(s): Justin Hall.

Nkota and Sachen wrestling.

A man is fleeing through the North African desert, more than two thousand years ago. Nkota, the self-freed slave, finds an unlikely shelter among a hidden religious community, the Qumari, and a budding friendship with Sachen, one of the believers.

Told in a clear and solid storytelling (which more than makes up for the sometimes uneven faces), Justin Hall's story of the building of trust between a "religious opportunist", as Nkota calls himself, and those people full of "whole-hearted zealotry", is all the more moving in our current climate of religious and cultural intolerance.
The sharing of bread and theological arguments heightens for the reader the reality of the deeply felt convictions which guide the lives of these men. It seems to me a no small part of the success of this work lies in the open-minded way all those characters are shown; Nkota and his fierce attachment to freedom, Sachen and his all-encompassing faith.
But neither lets his principles prevent him from learning to recognize the other's feelings. And that, for too short a time, is a victory for humanity against all forms of hate and divisiveness.
Another strong point of the book is the way the friendship and possible love between the two men develops, which is seamlessly integrated in the detailed and very credible description of the way of life of the imaginary Qumari.

But the world has not forgotten this community, and the fragile peace the Qumari have created for themselves will not last long. And whom but a man who is not of their faith will the Qumari be able to trust with their most revered teachings, their most sacred text?
With the last turn of events, Justin Hall leaves fiction to meet history. And I think I will not forget anytime soon Nkota, the lover of men, the former slave who went back to his tribe to live an untold life among his own people, a life undoubtedly richer for the short time he lived among the hidden Qumari.

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