A Conspiracy of Ravens by Othuke Ominiabohs was launched to a lot of fanfare in Abuja and Lagos this year and by all indications is set to make an East African tour later this year but of course our very own Buchi Onyegbule who doubles as a writer and sales professional has had the pleasure of reading the book and has a few words on the brilliance of the work or otherwise. Enjoy.
I was in danger of being late for, despite the commendable writing.
Walking into the studio, I met the author. One of the first questions I asked him that day, was ‘Why Odufa?’ why that kind of story? He told me it was personal to him and he wanted to express himself that way, and I understood.
Towards the end of the show, he told us about his new book, A Conspiracy Of Ravens. I wondered if it was another love story, and he assured me it wasn’t. He told me it was a thriller. I was intrigued enough to agree to review it at the unveiling. So he handed me a copy and I went to town on it.
Man, I was hooked within the first few pages. I read it so fast that I had to remind myself that I was reading to review, not just to enjoy. I then futilely tried to pace myself.
Few things stood out for me, I will address them thus:
First, Othuke broke away from the norm. Modern Nigerian Literature has grown exponentially in recent years, with very beautiful books written by wonderfully talented Authors, and while I loved that they all tried to be poignant and cathartic, A Conspiracy Of Ravens feels like a very much needed breath of fresh air, and I enjoyed that immensely. It’s a thriller in every sense of the word. Fast paced scenes with heart racing, inter weaving plot lines that place you constantly on the edge and leaves you rooting for your favourite characters.
Secondly, Othuke has a knack for building characters. One thing that stood out for me with Odufa was how much I could relate with Mukoro and Odufa in the Debut novel. I was of course watching out for this in A Conspiracy Of Ravens, and he did not disappoint. Every Character, from TariKemasuode, Alex Randa, to the minor characters were relatable, each with their flaws, and Othuke took time to develop them all so we could understand what made them tick, and this contributed immensely to the well roundedness of his plot lines. If you’ve ever attempted to write a book, you’d know that character development is pain staking work and he did not flinch.
I do not enjoy reading advanced sci-fi thrillers because I believe thrillers should be relatable and believable by the reader. The believability of a book helps the reader to immerse himself into the story, like an audience member at a stage play. I identified with A Conspiracy Of Ravens because the plot lines were not just believable, but were issues and ideals a lot of Nigerians are used to already and the struggles are not news. I was able to immerse myself into the creeks with Tari’s Militants, identify with Shamshudeen’sBoko Haram, and the Fixer’s Biafra struggle. Oh, and that was an awesome twist with Tari’s paternity. The issues raised in the book are actually very Nigerian in nature, and that ensures enough poignancy after your heart has calmed down at the end of the book.
Like I said at the unveiling also, His use of Symbolism belies his computer science background. Titling the book A Conspiracy Of Ravensshows an astute appreciation of literary motifs and symbols. Ravens are predatory birds, really smart, but using their intelligence mainly for hunting and stealing food. So, I should probably call them Devious.Little known fact is that a group of ravens is referred to as an Unkindness, or, as Othuke employed, a Conspiracy. This, I think tells you everything you need to know about the sometimes elusive, sometimes nearby, bird. Using this bird as a symbol to describe the Shadowy figures who play national events in the country, much like the way Ravens puppeteer, by mimicking their target’s birdcalls to lull them into dropping their guards so they could steal the food they were after, is very apt.
I have tried not to relate his writing to Robert of the house of Ludlum’s. But if you, like me, grew up on a diet of Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, James Hardley Chase, etc, I recommend you cop this thriller. It will definitely appeal to you, but with a very distinctive Nigerian flavour.
You can interact with Buchi here – @buchionyegbule
You can purchase any of Othuke Ominiaboh’s books here:
- JED Bookstore, The Palms, Lekki, Lagos.
- Terra Kulture, Plot 1376, Tiamiyu Savage, Off Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos
- LitCafe and Office Mall, E-Centre (Ozone Cinema building), Yaba
- Patabah Bookstore, Surulere Shoprite, Lagos
- Quintessence, Ikoyi, Lagos
- Glendora Bookstore, Ikeja, Lagos
- Mobile Bookstore, Lagos. 08023582332.
- Laterna Books, Opposite Eko hotel, Lagos
- JazzHole, along Awolowo Rd, Ikoyi, Lagos
- Mosuro The Booksellers Ltd, City Plaza, Opposite Obasanjo House, Ahmadu Bello Way, Area 11, Garki II, Abuja. Tel: 08058436339.
- Salamander Café, 5 Bujumbura Close, off Libreville Street, Amino Kano Crescent, Wuse II Abuja. Tel: 07027850932.
- AMAB Books, Minna, Niger State
Ibadan & Abeokuta
- Mosuro, The Booksellers Ltd, Ibadan
- Options Bookstore, Ibadan.
- University of Ife Bookshop
- The Booksellers, Abeokuta
Uyo & Portharcourt
- Boldoz Bookshop, Uyo, Akwa Ibom
- Port Harcourt at Bookville World, 2 Ezimgbu Link Road, Off Stadium Road, 0818 336 2853
Also available Online at:
Short link: http://bit.ly/2dzwT55
A Conspiracy of Ravens: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-conspiracy-of-ravens/id1163294600?mt=11
Odufa and A Conspiracy of Ravens is also available on the remaining Amazon sites:
Amazon.in, amazon.fr, amazon.de, amazon.it,amazon.nl, amazon.es, amazon.co.uk,
amazon.ca, amazon.com.mx, amazon.com.au,amazon.com.br