The Usurper’s Dream: Yeayi Kobina strikes gold with debut

Sure, I always enjoy a good book. It provides a quick escape from the all work and no play we have become accustomed to in today’s world. There’s always the possibility of dropping the book, with the hopes of returning to it and then actually forgetting about it.

If I were  a debut author, looking to make a mark in the literary world, I’d probably shun a story as huge as the life of Osei Tutu, the prime figure in one of Africa’s well known empires-the Ashanti kingdom.

The premise of the book ‘The Usurper’s Dream’, on the early beginnings of the Ashanti Kingdom was interesting enough for me to give the book a chance but the boldness of the writing, characters jumping of the page with riveting details is what kept me reading an entire night to reach an end that was just as climatic as any marvel movie ending.

Yeayi Kobina takes on a story many Ghanaians are familiar with and manages to create mystique about the characters. I found myself rooting for characters like I would in a TV show. Where some have failed in giving life to the lore of Osei Tutu and Okomfo Anokye, Yeayi Kobina thrives and is daring enough to give these Heroes of history humanistic flaws that makes you almost understand how fallible human nature is.

Think on the time you sat still and watched the over two hours of Endgame or the journey Frodo and Sam make from Hobbit Town to Modor. The usurper’s dream has magic, action, a touch of romance and a bold take of pre colonial culture. The many characters are alive, their stories are page turners and the stakes for me were so high, I was eager to get to the end and stayed up all night to reach it.

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At some point in the second chapter you realise you have struck gold with this book.

High stakes abounds. Osei Tutu is thrust into a game of chess. On his shoulders lie the responsibility of freeing his people from the kingdom of Denkyira, the central power of authority at the time. What should be a simple already heard story takes a different spine with brilliant writing introducing characters that were often in the background of history, like Anansi who is desperate to reclaim his place among the gods and the mother of Osei Tutu, Maana Kotosii.

We are introduced to a system of religion and beliefs that were treasured by our ancestors and how the arrival of Christianity shook an entire civilisation.

The usurper’s dream is the first of five books. The author does a great job of ending on  such a climatic note, you’re sure to be waiting with bated breath for the next instalment.

I came upon the book by chance. A friend had been given an advanced copy and I tore through every page, hungry to explore lives and culture that came alive before me. Yeayi Kobina is definitely a great addition to Writers in Ghana.

By Karen Kpodo

The writer is a writer herself, brand strategist and and editor.