Just in case you didn’t know, Othuke Ominiabohs is one hell of a writer. Only one skilled in the art of writing can flip genre like he did from ‘Odufa’, a ‘sappy’ romantic tale, to the action packed thriller that ‘A Conspiracy of Ravens’ is with such dexterity.
ACOR is an adrenalin rush, right from the first page to the cliff hanger where it signs off. There is no dull moment where the plot drags, so you might want to clear your schedule before you start reading this book. Once you pick it up, you don’t want to let go till you’re done. And then you want some more.
Tari Kemeasuode is the man who has decided to take the age old grievances of his people, the deprived and downtrodden masses of the Niger Delta, to the ears of the Nigerian Government by violent means. Tired of being neglected to wallow in pollution and poverty while the nation fed fat off the proceeds of their land, he and his band of daring militants attack an oil rig and kidnap nine expatriates whom they hold as bargaining chips in their bid to get the Federal Government to listen to their demands.
What starts off as a simple kidnap plot to draw worldwide attention to the impoverishment of the Niger Delta region soon snowballs into something beyond Tari’s wildest imaginations. Only when things get out of hand does he realize that he, as well as others in the crazy and complex web of intrigue are mere pawns on a gigantic chessboard. Almost everyone involved in the struggle is a puppet, and only one man controls all the strings. That one man is The Fixer, a shadowy character and a deranged manipulator with incredible finances, a global reach and an endgame of vengeance on his mind, a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his apocalyptic agenda.
ACOR is so vivid that it feels like the reader is watching a ‘documovie’ shot in present day Nigeria, or better still, is listening to the news at the end of another eventful day. Militancy and the Niger Delta unrest, tribal and ethnic politics, and the Boko Haram menace up north are some of the issues addressed. At some point, one wonders if this is really a work of fiction, or pages stolen from the manuscript out of which Nigeria’s current maniacal state of affairs is being played out.
Othuke’s new book packs quite a punch. Although the feverish sequence of events and the wide array of characters at times threaten to overwhelm the reader, everything is skillfully woven together to arrive at the final destination, which is itself the beginning of another journey. Words are deftly transformed into images, so much that I could almost smell the fetid swamp air in my living room as I read. The writer deserves commendation for his descriptive detail.
Violence and death are recurrent themes in the book, which is not surprising considering the subject matter, but one also finds that it showcases love, duty and devotion. ACOR is an eye opener, and a very authentic and worthy indigenous contribution to the political thriller universe.