I don’t quite remember how I came across this novel. Don’t remember if I saw it in the Amazon ad emails and the cover struck me. Don’t recall if I was searching for something and it came up in the search. Perhaps the reason I can’t remember how I found the book is because I didn’t find it. I believe it found me. The novel was definitely entertaining. But it was much more. It was edifying. It had loads of lessons about leadership. And that is why I believe I was drawn to it. That’s also why I gave it a roaring and resounding five stars.
Omari is a thief. A Good one at that. So good that he was able to amass a large amount of wealth. But his estranged wife ratted him out and with his back against the wall, he decided to burn his house down. But he ends up burning down the entire city. This act starts a whirlwind adventure that includes salvation and starvation, war and feasting, love and deception. We see Umal, the Old Mother, who transforms over the course of the novel, showing us just how mysterious she is. We meet Umbarak, the uneasy at first but soon fast friend. We meet the sneaky Bin Aswad, a classic villain who stays the course through the journey, providing inner turmoil. And what would any story be without love interest? Saba Khan, appears as the apple of Omari’s eye. But perhaps also the poisonous apple that would lead to his destruction. Omari transforms from thief to chief, leading a people through an unforgiving and oddly alive desert, to a destination they’re unsure of. And isn’t that just like life and leadership? Big tasks. Lots of characters. Adversity. But how do you perform in the midst of it all? What types of decisions do you make when people are counting on you? How do you lead people you dislike, in the spirit of fairness and not selfishness? These are the challenges that Omari faced. I found myself turning the pages and finding nuggets within them to make me a better man and leader.
I loved the novel overall but wished at times that less detail was given. The reader gets details about side actions I thought were unnecessary and caused drags in some spots. Other than that, the novel was outstanding. I’m glad I found it. Check that. I’m glad it found me.