I’ve received an audiobook for an honest review. The Audiobookworm introduced to me this book. I have to admit this audiobook is my first! And I wasn’t sure what to expect listening to a book, not reading one. The audiobook definitely surprised me!
Omari and the People by Stephen Whitfield
Narrated by: Curt Simmons
Publication Date: August 22, 2014 (print)/June 20, 2016 (audio)
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Historical
Length: 11 hours and 17 minutes
Source: Audiobook from The Audiobookworm
In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based in part on the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home afire to start anew and to cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place which only he can lead them to, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The desperate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead – his very life – is jeopardized.
“Like wisps of vapour that form a cloud, their shared memories and desires rise up from their souls, merge, and become the story.”
Wow. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Stephen’s book. It definitely intrigues me. And I’m happy to be given the opportunity to review the audiobook. The audiobook adds an extra level of interest. Stephen’s writing and Curt’s narration produce powerful images in your mind. The author has an intrinsic ability to shape his words into something tangible. He doesn’t tell you what happens; he shows you. And Curt complements Stephen’s work beautifully. You can smell the fire and picture the people as they flee the burning city. Omari and the People is truly a character-driven piece.
“You are smart. You are strong. You are brave. And you care. This is why you will lead these people across the sands.”
Omari, the elusive Phantom Thief and an unlikely saviour who fears his identity will be figured out, leads people across the unforgiving desert after he intentionally sets his house on fire to escape a life he loathes, and thus accidentally burns down their City. He’s reluctant to help them. He has no love for them. They aren’t his people. He’d rather abandon them and leave. But when an elderly and often forgotten woman encourages him to guide them to a paradise just past the desert, he sees an opportunity he knows he can’t refuse.
Omari and the People reminds me of the classic legends. People pass them down from generation to generation. And this book touches on that lore. I love how Stephen captures the human condition. He creates beautiful yet mortal characters. You can see a lot of youtself in them. And you ask yourself what you’re willing to do to survive, what you’ll give up in order to believe in a man who says he’ll give you more.
Along their path, Omari and the caravan face illnesses, threats of starvation, raiders, insects, and internal conflicts. But the people are at the heart of this story. Omari is flawed, yes. But he’s a good example of being a human. The people shape him, and he, too, moulds them into a family. One character who surprised me the most is Umal, the woman who sets Omari on his path. This sorceress is the shining beacon in a bleak desert backdrop. I adore her.
Sometimes there are stories that you may never have picked up because you thought they’re the same old. This one? No. This book will surprise you. Curt’s narration will hook you, and Stephen’s clever writing will make you want more.