Hannibal’s Elephant Girl by Ariion Kathleen Brindley is set 229 BCE at a river camp near Carthage (North Africa) and follows Liada, a 12 year old girl, and her daily adventures. Liada is pulled from a raging river by Obolus, one of the elephants being trained for war at the camp. Liada has lost her memory and is taken in by Yzebel and her jealous son Jabnet to assist her with feeding the soldiers who visit her tables. During Liada’s daily work, she runs across many other camp members; Tin Tin Ban Sunia who is basically mute other then saying her name over and over, Hannibal the leader of the elephant army. and Tendao a mysterious figure who seems to appear when Liada is in trouble. She also develops an unusual connection with Obolus. This friendship with the elephant causes admiration by some and suspicion by others.
I really enjoyed this book even though I am not as young of an adult as the suggested audience. The descriptions of the camp, the city of Carthage and even the clothes of the those at the camp were very detailed and beautifully written. The story also immediately grabbed my attention and there were some great “what is going to happen next” moments where I could not wait to discover the final outcome. The story is full of adventure, mysticism and the timeless theme of family and friends will stand by you through both triumphant and difficult times. The ending is left open and I cannot wait to see what other adventures Liada discovers.