Shaka Rising – A Legend of the Warrior Prince

A charismatic young warrior prince emerges from exile to usurp the old order and forge a new, mighty Zulu kingdom.

A time of bloody conflict and great turmoil. The slave trade expands from the east African coast. Europeans spread inland from the south. And one young boy is destined to change the future of southern Africa. This retelling of the Shaka legend explores the rise to power of a shrewd young prince who must consolidate a new kingdom through warfare, mediation, and political alliances to defend his people against the expanding slave trade.






About the authors

Luke Molver studied Fine Art and Graphic Design at the Durban University of Technology and works as a freelance illustrator and comic book creator in Durban, South Africa.

Mason O’Connor was born in Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and has spent the majority of his life living in the small town of Hilton outside the capital of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He is currently studying mathematics at Stellenbosch University.

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Praise for Shaka Rising


Named a 2019 Honor Book for Older Reader by the Children’s Africana Book Awards

Shortlisted for a NOMMO Award by the African Speculative Fiction Society

“Sharing stories are an important part of what makes us human. It shows our humanity and helps us build empathy for one another. What Molver has done in sharing the incredible story Shaka Rising is add to the well of empathy from which we all must drink in order to build a better society.”– Joel Christian Gill cartoonist, historian, activist. Author Strange Fruit Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History and Tales of the Talented Tenth.

Shaka Rising is an innovative effort to use the comics medium to bridge the gap between academic history and folklore. In the hands of South African creator Luke Molver, this graphic novel converges the work of historians with oral tradition to propose an interpretation of Shaka’s story that is both intellectual and accessible, at once an epic legend and a work of historical fiction. Additionally, the reading guide gives readers insight into the production of this kind of history. Shaka Rising would work well in the classroom in combination with other, academic histories of this event of global and African significance, but is also immensely enjoyable read on its own.”– Trevor R. Getz, author of Abina and the Important Men

“A worthy introduction that offers a young Anglophone audience entry into a legend of Africa” — Kirkus

“Deftly written and superbly illustrated by Luke Molver, Shaka Rising: A Legend of the Warrior Prince is a truly extraordinary and entertaining graphic novel that will decidedly prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library graphic novel collections for readers ages 16 to 86.” — Midwest Book Review

“The men and women in this story are shown with admirable nuance, as the principal actors in their own lives and era rather than as moving parts in a modern-day morality play. A sequel is planned for this first installment of Shaka’s story, which itself marks the launch of a welcome historical graphic-novel series set in Africa.”— Meghan Cox Gurdon, Wall Street Journal

Shaka Rising is a groundbreaking graphic novel. It belongs on school and home shelves. And the hope is that the series to follow will be equally professional, educational, and entertaining.” — New York Journal of Books

“The story moves briskly, and the language is vivid and dramatic. […] [Shaka Rising] is worth adding to collections” —School Library Journal

“[T]he intrigue of the story and the intensity of the character are well fleshed-out. This is a tale comics has heretofore not done justice to, and it’s handsomely presented here. —Booklist

“The graphic novel format makes it initially attractive to young readers, but the content connects with South Africans in a powerful way because it is about our shared history.” —School librarian, Durban, South Africa

“The graphic novels – Shaka Rising and the sequel, King Shaka – are  imaginative, engaging, and innovative ways of narrating the legend of Shaka […] Characterization of the people in these comic books is very appealing. The illustrations are superbly designed, colorful, and support the storyline concisely. Molver shows deep understanding of Zulu history and culture. […] Highly Recommended.”— Africa Access Review