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Review: Wambu Trilogy by Piet Prins

As they hunt together deep in the jungles of New Guinea,  Wambu learns jungle craft and the ancient stories of spirits and magic from his father.  But Wambu has discovered the power of the white man’s magic from a former villager, Hassewiets.  When he and his father find a little fugitive girl, Sirja who is a new Christian, the witch doctor wants the villagers to eat her.  He is desperate to keep the old customs, especially cannibalism, and will go to any lengths to preserve his power….

After the fierce cannibals of Kitoe destroy Wambu’s village, an impressive ceremony is set up to adopt Wambu and the other children into their tribe. But Wambu risks his life to avoid growing up a cannibal and runs away to find help to free the other children.  With the miraculous intervention of Sirja’s Jesus, Wambu evades the men of Kitoe and sets out to find the white man.  Enemies, disease, the jungle, and the spirits close in on him and death seems inevitable.

At death’s door, Wambu is brought to the mission.  Slowly he heals and when he learns the new language he finds out more about Sirja’s Jesus.  Even so he cannot not escape the grip of the past, especially when he meets a distantly-related witch doctor.   Now what will happen to his plan to free Sirja and the other children from the cannibal village of Kitoe?

Skillfully told by the author of the popular Scout series, Wambu’s gripping story tells about sin, evil, and God’s goodness, as well as about jungle life, hunting, and the customs of the aborigine people of Papua New Guinea. 

I read the Wambu trilogy aloud to my children, just like my father read them aloud to us many years ago.  They are thrilling stories, full of tension of all sorts.  The books were, at times, difficult for all of us.  Because they portray life among the headhunters, they are emotionally wrenching.   However, confronted with the politically correct idea that missionaries destroy cultures, the children need to see that some cultures are evil and terrifying and that the people are overjoyed to leave the darkness and death behind.

We highly recommend the Wambu trilogy for its exciting story, the glimpse into missionary work, and the vivid description of Papua New Guinea. Although technically the three books Wambu: The Chieftain’s Son, Wambu: In the Valley of Death, and Wambu: Journey to Manhood could be read independently, they are more enjoyable when read in sequence.  This trilogy makes a superb family read aloud for ages 9 and up, and is inspiring to adults as well.

Wambu: The Chieftain’s Son, Wambu: In the Valley of Death, and Wambu: Journey to Manhood  by Piet Prins are available from Inheritance Publications. 

Disclosure: Our children received these books from my parents many years ago.

This review is linked to Read Aloud Thursday.


  1. Sarah says:

    We’ve enjoyed the Struggle for Freedom series by Piet Prins and have the Shadow series on order so am sure that we would enjoy these. We don’t find them easy to source in the UK and have the Shadow series on order from Canada. Perhaps they will come out as e-books?

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Sarah, I’ve contacted the publisher with your question, and have also pointed out to them that it is difficult for you to find these books in the UK. I will get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.

      1. Annie Kate says:

        Sarah, the publisher says that the best way for you in the UK to get the books is to order directly from them. Also, there are currently no plans to sell them as e-books.

  2. Dorie says:

    This set of three books looks like an interesting read. I have never heard of them, so glad you shared. (stopping by from RAT)

    1. Annie Kate says:

      You’re welcome!

  3. Amy@ Hope Is the Word says:

    These sound gripping! Thank you for pointing out the fallacy in the modern mindset. I will definitely be on the lookout for this author’s books!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, that fallacy really, really bothers me. It can be phrased in such a sneaky way that people don’t really know what’s actually being said!

  4. Interesting! I’ve never heard of these. We have good friends who were missionaries for years in Papua New Guinea and they have some amazing stories to tell.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      I’m sure their stories must be amazing. God does such wonderful things.

      The Piet Prins books are not very common but they are worth looking for.

  5. […] We saw some of the intricate artwork made out of a whale’s real bones, treasures and tokens which reminded me in a rather chilling way of the Wambu trilogy. […]

  6. Refo Mama says:

    Love LOVE it. I read this books in Dutch for my son.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Just like my dad did for us. In Dutch, sitting around in the living room. Such a happy memory, except for the sago grubs! If we want to make my sister shudder, we just have to say mention them in Dutch!

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