Ever-popular member of our WordPress community, Jude Itakali, is back in the spotlight after the well-received release of his poetry collection, Crossroads (Winds of Love) last year. Hot on the heels of its publication, Jude set about penning his first novel, which is now on the brink of publication.
Realms of the Mist opens with a beautiful lyrical description which sets the scene and the tone of the book. Here, in the remote and rugged hills of eastern Africa we meet Kamau, a young man on the brink of his coming-of-age ceremony. But Kamau is no ordinary young man. He is one of the Gifted, a member of the Hadiza, a spiritual and stoical people with the ability to transform into wild animals, and whose duty it is to keep darkness and evil from entering the world. Kamau is burdened with grief over the untimely and unexplained death of his younger sister and his desire to obtain justice and peace for her spirit drives him onwards throughout the story.
Soon we learn that Kamau is tasked with a crucial mission, although the details remain unclear. He must join forces with other members of the Gifted, and through their collaboration, fulfil a destiny that only he can.
The quest begins and we learn that although there are powerful friends on Kamau’s side, even more formidable forces are at work; evil so great that it threatens the entire world unless Kamau and his small band of friends can complete their mysterious mission.
As the story progresses, we are introduced to other members of the Gifted. Those like exotic Ninuwe, one of the Femi, who radiates charm and oozes sensuality, so contrary to the rigid and unemotional culture that Kamau and his proud and beautiful friend Irina share. The rivalry and banter between the two young women heap up further confusion on Kamau as he puzzles his way through his mission, while bringing sympathetic smiles to the reader’s face.
The narrative builds towards a terrifying battle as Kamau is betrayed and the most potent of all evil is unleashed. Although one battle might seem to have been won, the story ends on a huge cliff-hanger, leaving the reader open-mouthed and anxious to pick up the next book in the trilogy.
Highly recommended for lovers of fantasy, adventure and fast-paced action. This is another great story to add to the pantheon of modern literature emerging from the African continent.
Disclaimer: I did have a bit of behind the scenes input in the Jude’s book, but I can honestly say that it has not affected my review. From the first few chapters which Jude sent my way, I was bowled over by the story, Jude’s poetic use of language, his wonderful world-building and his charming and conflicted characters in whom I quickly became so invested.
I had such a blast discussing Jude’s emerging narrative via the magic of WhatsApp. Jude could have been in the next room, not 3000 miles away! Only authors could spend a happy ten minutes agonising over a particular word. There were many interesting asides too. Most memorable for me was our discussion of local food (that won’t surprise anyone who knows either of us).
I also sent myself down several rabbit holes between our discussions, such was my interest in the unspoilt and remote locations which Jude weaves into his book; places which I long to visit, from the lowland savannahs to the remote mountain ranges of eastern Africa.
Realms of the Mist is due for release on 14th March 2022
Be sure to look out for it. You won’t be disappointed!
Keep an eye out for it on Jude’s blog: Tales Told Different