Henry Aubin is author of the groundbreaking history, Rescue of Jerusalem: The Alliance Between Hebrews and Africans in 701 B.C, (Doubleday Can and Soho US) and the novel Rise of the Golden Cobra. American-born, he lives in Montreal where was once a columnist for the Montreal Gazette.
Ride Hard, Shoot Straight, Speak the Truth
Ride Hard, Shoot Straight, Speak the Truth, intended for readers 12 to 16, is about a desire for fame and heroism. The setting is a little known but harrowing period of ancient history when black Africans from Kush, aka Nubia, ruled Egypt (circa 728 BC to 663 BC) and the menacing superpower in the region was Assyria.
It is also the time when armies were experimenting with a new, cutting-edge combat force–a cavalry. The conventional wisdom was that bareback riders would never replace chariots.
Hip, a Kushite, is 12 when he proves he can hold his own against boys two or three years older. Seeking glory like his famous father, Hip becomes the youngest recruit in the army’s three-year training program for light-cavalry scouts and raiders. Most of the novel portrays his adventures at age 15, when he journeys with his regiment across the Sinai Desert to try to defend the kingdom of Gaza against attack by the Assyrian emperor Sargon.
Hip’s sweetheart, Meryt, is a refugee from Samaria, the capital of Israel that the Assyrians have already conquered (720 BC). Having witnessed the horrors of war, Meryt–now a nurse who tends wounded soldiers–challenges Hip’s belief that warfare is a proper arena for achieving heroism and glory. Hip is captured, escapes and does serious damage to the Assyrian supply line. In so doing, he amply fulfills the conventional definition of heroism. But, with Meryt’s help, he comes to see that a higher form of heroism exists.
Ride Hard, Shoot Straight, Speak the Truth is an action-packed, solidly researched story presents an era unfamiliar to readers–a time before the invention of saddles and stirrups when riding in battle was exceptionally difficult, when Africans were briefly major players in the Middle East, when racism as we know it today did not exist, when Assyria with its ruthless war machine became what one historian calls, the “forbear of Nazi Germany.”