Clement and Hippolyte are handsome, sharp-witted, and as close as brothers. When Clement falls in love with enchanting Pauline, he bids Hippolyte to join his quest to court her, and the two friends set out toward danger and adventure.
Pauline is ward of the mysterious Monsieur Zabocat — a plantation owner reputed to be a quimboiseur, a wizard — and, defying his wishes, Pauline joins her new fiancé and his friend on their trek home. But the fruited fields and forests they traverse hide dark forces plotting to destroy the couple…and one night — Tam! Tam! Tamtamtam! — the distant sound of a drum lures Hippolyte into a deadly trap that forces him to choose between his friend’s safety and his own.
Robert D. San Souci and Brian Pinkney again combine their talents to bring to life a West Indian folktale that draws upon African, European, and South American traditions and imagery. The result is an extraordinary tale of romance, intrigue, and incomparable courage in which the truest of friends remain faithful to the very end.