Obinna Udenwe’s debut novel, Satans and Shaitan’s, published by Jacaranda Press, is as contemporary a novel as you can get about Nigeria right now.
It encompasses the troubling rise of a terrorist group, the dubious nature of Christian evangelism and the ingrained corruption in politics. Udenwe has a finger firmly pressed on the pulse of Nigeria’s current challenges giving the book ample opportunity for relevance at a time when a good number of novels are preoccupied with the country’s past.
The trouble here is the execution. Crime thrillers already suffer from a lowly status compared to so-called high literature but its tricks and tackles are not easily mastered. Novelists as esteemed as Chris Abani have tried with admirable ambition but struggled as with his novel, Secret Lives of Las Vegas. So it is perhaps understandable that Udenwe has fallen short in his debut novel.
The story of Satan and Shaitans contains on two major strands, the first about a cult called Sacred Order whose aim is to arm the terrorist group Boko Haram. Their members include prominent business man Chief Donald Amaechi, popular evangelist Chris Chuba and a Hausa Islamic cleric Sheik Mohamed Seko.
The second is a secret love affair between Chief Amaechi’s son Donaldo and Adeline whose father, Chris Chuba, is a popular evangelist. Both of their parents are members of the cult and it is ma ... Read Full Review