280 pages, 5.50 x 8.50 in
280 pages, 5.50 x 8.50 in
New York Times bestselling author SLMN returns against a backdrop of sex workers, drug runners and cults darker than any New York street gang, SLMN takes us on the ride of a thousand lifetimes, from the birth of the dark arts of West African magic to the streets of Freetown and the desert sands of the Sahara in this twisted take on one of the most brutal tales of revenge ever told. West Africa in is the grip of organized crime. Syndicates run the flow of cocaine through the territory, and with demand for the drug escalating rapidly in Europe the money changing hands is dizzying. The street value of the coke passing through West Africa is more than the combined national security budgets for the region. But this is barely skimming the surface. West Africa is a staging post. The syndicates are moving cocaine from the Andes into Europe, trafficking firearms and counterfeit essential meds as well as people across the fault lines between East and West through the Sahara and the Mediterranean, some of the harshest crossings out there, with too many dying on the way.
For the last decade, two rival syndicates have fought a grim war in the region. The price is high, paid in blood. There’s the Oniagbe, the widow makers, whose ties to these streets are rooted to the days when the first bricks were laid in this ancient city. They’ve controlled Freetown for generations. They are involved in every inch of its life. Now, nothing happens without their say so. And then there’s Awn Woli, a crew moved in from over the border, in Monrovia, that have settled in the area after civil war drove them out of their homeland. They are cartel men, killers who trade in drugs, sex, and money laundering with ties back to the old country where they are feared more than death. With corruption rife in law enforcement, there is nothing and no one who can control the threat they pose. They have another name there, the Lost Prophets, named for their devotion to the god, Iku, whose job it is to take those who are dead from this earth. There are those who are shaped by the world and those who shape it. Awọn woli don’t just shape it, they break it until it sets the way they want it. This kind of territorial invasion is never going to be met with open arms. Hostilities escalate between the syndicates, with the bodycount mounting. What began as trades, an insult for an insult, becomes a life for a life.
Until now. One of Awọn Woli’s lieutenants, has taken the daughter of the Oniṣagbe’s main man, who they now hold as prisoner inside the fortified house that is their base of operations back in old country, preparing for her sacrifice. They believe they are following the ancient prophecies, and that the girl is meant to die before she reaches her thirteenth birthday, becoming Abiku, the spirit that will be reborn as their messiah and lead them to a promised land. To get her back, the Oniṣagbe, are going to have to go to war, infiltrate the compound in the heart of the hostile desert, facing the threat of old gods and new, to retrieve her. The only way that’s happening is over the corpses of every last Awọn Woli foot solider.
One way or another this rivalry is coming to an end.
It is a tale as old as war, and as dark as love.