We’re so excited to be participating in the City of Saints and Thieves blog tour and we’re super honored to have a guest post from Natalie herself! Be sure to check out the giveaway for a chance to win one of five finished copies of City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie Anderson.
Without any further ado, here’s Natalie’s Top 5 Things to Know About City of Saints and Thieves.
- The City: City of Saints and Thieves is set in a fictional city in Kenya. Sangui City is both old and modern, with architecture and culture influenced by hundreds of years of trade with the Arab world, India and China, just like the real coastal cities of Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. But it also has the energy and edge of Nairobi. And like Nairobi, it’s a place of extremes, where both the fabulously wealthy and abjectly poor live within a stone’s throw of each other. I lived in Nairobi for about three years and traveled extensively in Africa for work, and just couldn’t pick one spot to base the story. But one of the great perks of being a writer is that you get to make stuff up. :)
- The main character, Tina (aka Tiny Girl) is a street-wise girl who had to grow up fast. After her mother was killed she left the wealthy Greyhill manor where she lived, and began fending for herself, ending up joining a ruthless gang, the Goondas. That’s where she honed her skills as a thief and started working on her plan to avenge her mother’s death. She’s a loner. She would tell you she doesn’t have time for friends, and all that really matters to her is her plans for revenge and making sure her kid sister Kiki stays safe.
- It’s a story of revenge. Or is it? City of Saints and Thieves starts with Tina making it clear that the thing she wants most in the world is revenge against the man she knows murdered her mother. And there’s no way she’s wrong about who the killer is. After all, she practically overheard him say he was going to do the deed. She’s been focused on making him pay for practically her whole life. Just as her plan is being set into motion she gets caught red-handed by her once-best friend (who inconveniently happens to be the murderer’s son). He’ll only let her go if they work together to get solid proof, once and for all, of who the murderer is.
- The Rules: Tina has a rule for everything. (The working title of the book, in fact, was Rules for Thieves) Every time something bad happens she makes a rule for herself out of it, so she’ll never make the same mistake twice. Tina would never explain it this way, but Boyboy would tell you that It’s her way of maintaining control over her otherwise rather unstable life. The rules keep her focused and sharp, which she needs if she’s going to carry out her plan for revenge.
- Tina and her mother left DR Congo as refugees when Tina was only five. Millions of people have fled Congo over the years, as the Eastern part of country has gone through periods of severe instability dating back to colonial times. The recent conflicts in the area where Tina is from are incredibly complex, with dozens of different paramilitary groups, several different nearby countries, and other international governments and companies involved. Why? Because mining for tin, copper, diamonds, tantalum, gold and other minerals is a huge source of wealth for all of them. And while these resources could go into developing the country, the government is both corrupt and also not stable enough to ensure that mines are run safely. And in fact, many militia groups and government soldiers alike use mining and slave labor to fund themselves. If you’re interested in learning more, The Enough Project has some excellent reports: enoughproject.org
About City of Saints and Thieves:
Publication: January 24th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.
With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.
About Natalie C. Anderson:
Natalie C. Anderson is a writer and international development professional living in Boston, Massachusetts. She has spent the last decade working with NGOs and the UN on refugee relief and development, mainly in Africa. She was selected as the 2014-2015 Associates of the Boston Public Library Children’s Writer in Residence, where she wrote her debut novel, City of Saints and Thieves.