In 17th Century Africa, a being who can live forever by transferring his mind from one body to the next travels around the continent checking the "seed villages" it has set up over the years to breed other creatures like itself, possessed of "witch" powers beyond those of normal humans.
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In one of them it discovers a woman named Anyanwu, who is a shapeshifter and immortal just like him, but is a "wild seed" not related to him or his offspring.
Anyanwu has lived hidden among regular people, letting herself age and then becoming young again and starting over and taking on the role of healer or wise woman, but she has never met anyone like herself or Doro. Anyanwu fears him, since his mind-transferring ability kills the host and therefore he is the only one capable of killing her.
But she is also intrigued and he convinces her to travel to America with him by telling her that together they can have immortal children. Anyanwu desperately wants to have children that she won't have to outlive so she agrees.
Doro, however, is amoral and cruel and has spent thousands of years pursuing what amounts to a eugenics program, trying to breed offspring with special abilities.
He marries Anywanwu to one of his sons, Isaac, a telekinetic. She lives with Isaac and bears children with him, adding to Doro's new race. When Isaac eventually dies she flees and shifts in order to hide from Doro, but the world is too small for two immortals to avoid each other forever.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's a grim look at two very different approaches to changing the world (Doro through tyranny and Anyanwu through caretaking) and setting it during the slavery era makes it that much more disturbing.
Best scene in story:
When Anyanwu transforms into a dolphin, it's a small bit of freedom in a book that is about being imprisoned and compelled.
Opinion about the main character:
Anyanwu is a bit passive, which is understandable given the circumstances but frustrating as the years wear on.