ISBN: 978-0-8059-8509-2. PUBLISHER: Red Lead Press of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2007. AUTHOR: Ugo Ezeani
By Nwachukwu Egbunike
Many tales and books abound, which over the centuries have rendered varying accounts of the life of the gods. Most polytheistic religions believe that the gods – like mortals – have passions and thus descend from on high to intermarry and interact with men. They also share the conviction that due to persistent supplications, the principal god had withdrawn from earth and delegated his powers to lesser deities who now oversee the affairs of men on his behalf. Among other fundamental differences, this stands out as one of the differentiating factors from the three monotheistic religions – Christianity, Islam and Judaism – which believe in only one God.
In this country, the divine plays a major role in our belief system. We are ever in a hurry to ascribe our failures to external circumstances. It seems we always have ‘witches or wizards’ on an eternal rampage. Little wonder, pastors and baballawos have a field day in their ministry of breaking the bonds of the evil one. This attitude shows that man is naturally wired to be religious and to search for the eternal being. However, many are yet to reconcile this thirst for the divine with the mundane.
It was with such background that I read Ugo Ezeani’s Anumar’s Fall. This work of fiction is basically tailored in the line of mythological fantasy. Fantasy is a genre of literature that has always fascinated me. Not so much with the content of their stories but the extent of human imagination.
In Anumar’s Fall, the author’s imagination was poured forth in an intricate synthesis of the life of gods and men. It was a story set in heaven and on earth. The book kicks off with a prophecy – Nigerians are in love with prophets and their prophecies – “that Lord Amadon (ruler of heaven) could never be deposed as long as his younger daughter, Kinra, was by his side.” Then in a strange twist of events, soon after this prophecy, Kinra was found guilty of conspiring with a group of insurgents in a failed attempt to overthrow Amadon. She had been banished, and no one knew where she was. After the banishment of the goddess Onigon felt confident to carry on with his plans to unseat Amadon, believing that Kinra’s exile satisfied the necessary condition for a successful putsch against her father. This prophecy summarises the entire book.
Onigon, the god of the sea, tries to covet the throne of his brother, Lord Amadon. As wont with characters that wish to usurp authority, the god of the sea is in league with other gods and goddesses who have an axe to grind with Lord Amadon. Onigon raised a mighty host and thinking that the prophecy was on his side since Kinra had been banished, attacks the celestial city. Since superstition is the trade mark of many who wish to grab or hold on to power, it was not surprising that the god of the sea, in the middle of battle, goes to consult the ‘Five Children’. In spite of his threats he was told plainly by these five kids, that he’ll never be king. Yet filled with ambition, he attempts to murder one of the children for telling him what he had asked for. The rest of the story can be seen in the book, as he was humiliated by Lord Amadon.
Ezeani shows that the evil man does not rest in his pursuits. Even when he is defeated he licks his wounds and patiently waits for another day. Onigon, fled only to regroup, with the desire to be king and rule over the gods.
Anumar’s Fall continues in two more sections. The book draws its title from the fall of Kinra’s star called Anumar to earth. The baby goddess was picked as a small girl by a farmer who had no child. Being oblivious that the baby was a goddess, the farmer and his wife, loved her to distraction and named her Natoya.
I will not attempt to evaluate Natoya, because that may entail writing a thesis. None-theless, in Natoya, one sees the mingling of the gods with men. Natoya is always having nightmares which leave physical manifestations of pains and bruises on her skin. Not only that, Natoya during her spells, loses touch of reality and babbles incoherently.
This sets the pace for the revival of the old animosity of Onigon. He and his band of usurpers had belatedly realised that Amadon had played a fast one on them. The king of heaven did not want to interfere in the trial of his daughter, yet his fatherly affection could not allow him to see his own banished to such gruesome punishment. He picked the middle way, and intervenes only after the court had ruled that his daughter be sentenced. Amadon causes her mysterious disappearance and her eventual descent to earth caused Anumar, her star to fall.
This trick was later discovered by Onigon and the desperate search for Natoya begins. Natoya’s life as a goddess and a girl, affects the life of men. Her enemies spare no detail yet she continued to prove elusive, having the protection of Lord Amadon himself. It is amazing that all this happens without her knowledge. Things continue in this state until she meets her death…
Having wetted your appetite, I will stop my description here. This review cannot do justice to the amount of details that Ezeani embedded in this work. The use of poetry, maps and the details in descriptions are things a review cannot highlight. Neither can I comprehensively do justice to other sub-themes, settings and plots that the author employed. Ugo Ezeani’s imagination, as seen in this work, is a great surprise because he is not in the arts, but is rather studying engineering. One would have thought that he would have been more comfortable with calculations than with words. However, I have only one grudge with Ezeani, why was Anumar’s Fall published in the United States and not in Nigeria?
Anumar’s Fall needs no further commendation from me because its lucidity, depth, originality and suspense, marks it out. If you are interested in knowing what became of Lord Amadon and the band of other gods who had an interest in his throne, then you have to read the book. I can assure you that you’ll not be disappointed.