Shaba’s mythical tale centers on the birth of a fated child to John and Lin, a young couple in the African nation of Kentu, and the subsequent attempts by a demonic religious sect to steal the child for its own purposes.
The supernatural plot blends an old-fashioned romance between the couple with familiar contemporary references, like BMW cars and the Richter scale. The opening pages reveal the novel’s overall drive: John and Lin, as well as other wealthy Christian families somehow connected to a benevolent “New World Order,” will battle demon worshippers intent on kidnapping newborn babies. However, readers are first shown the courtship involved in John and Lin’s “mythic love” and their elaborate “royal”-style wedding. Working against them is Mantula, one of the members of the devilish religious sect—they believe the baby to be the reincarnation of their founder—who aims to steal the baby so that she may become the sect’s first female leader. They send evil spirits to attack Kentu and the baby’s delivery location. Unfortunately, the tension within this plot structure is undermined by the author’s unclear, oddly formal writing style. Secondly, the frequent use of an omniscient narrator means readers are told John’s and Lin’s feelings rather than experiencing them in first person, resulting in a greater separation between characters and readers. For example, pregnant Lin is first described as “sturdy, keen, and hopeful to the very day she will put to bed as all expectant mothers always yearn for-for every expectant mother, the delivery day is special to them and for Lin, it wasn’t different. About nine months of a fetus inside the womb wasn’t a joke.” Even when John and Lin talk to each other during their dates, the same formal style is used: “It is my greatest pleasure to be with a lady of your type.”
An intriguing premise hindered by inaccessible writing.