Book Review: The Deliverer

The Deliverer is a moving piece written by Kwabena Ankomah-Kwakye. It follows Osei Tutu who is the only son of Yaa Mansa Badua. The story foreshadows Osei Tutu’s greatness in a bold quote stating, “when you are born to kill an elephant, you don’t go bruising your knees chasing rats!” (Ankomah-Kwakye, 2011, pg. 11). In the beginning the book opens with his mother being tied to a tree and left for death. She eventually escapes and finds refuge with another family. The family shelters her and she gives birth to Osei. Yaa Mansa Badua dies shortly after leaving her son motherless. As the plot thickens, we hear of a land that is riddled with a disconnect between tribes. Osei is born of the Asante tribe, to which there is a prophecy in which there would be a deliverer of Asante from Denkyira.

Time goes on and Osei faces great hardships. He is born crippled and is resentful and bitter for it. Osei feels he is a burden to everyone, especially his foster father Bonsu. One day, astonishingly, at age thirteen he begins to walk. He never takes this new found miracle for granted, so much so that by the time he is 16 he is the villages most skillful hunter. He gains the respect of many peers due to this. This leads him into trouble however as one day he accidently shoots another mans game. That “other man” turned out to be Kojo Akenten. He was the proclaimed “deliverer” and sentenced Osei to be enslaved and locked away.

Osei nevertheless kept his spirits high and made the best of the circumstances through hard work. He eventually was very well respected both by the other slaves, and slave holders. This also did not come without a price. Out of jealousy he was stabbed and due to this taken to a herbalist. He is awoken by an assistant named Ama and is instantly in awe of her beauty. Osei eventually fully recovers only to find out that Ama is the princess of Denkyira.

Unavoidably the two are drawn to each other and Ama is very fond of Osei. She convinces the palace to let Osei move in as a royal slave to the family. After reluctance it is agreed upon and the two end up falling madly in love. This is troubling however given that Asante and Denkyira are at much conflict with each other. As if this isn’t enough for these two star-crossed lovers, Ama’s hand in marriage is eventually promised away by the king. She is very distressed over this and wishes to marry Osei. During Ama disclosing all of this to Osei, she makes it known that she wishes for Osei to be the first man she lays in bed with. During this, the guards find him hidden in her room and he is driven from the palace for good while narrowly escaping death.

Ama conceives from the night with Osei, and the man who was promised her hand in marriage refuses once it is known she is pregnant. Meanwhile, Osei is put through test of empathy and integrity passing each one and eventually rewarded with the counsel of the wise Okomofo Anokye. Together they eventually assemble an Asante army. Osei has prophetic dreams of the thrown or “golden stool”. It is perfect timing as the Denkyira tribe has been busy tormenting Asante, overtaking their land and building villages.

Under Osei, the newly formed army begin their endeavors and successfully start to win small battles. Eventually Ama catches wind of this and they are happily reunited. She tells him of his child but the joy is short-lived as they are nations at war with each other. Ama tries to facilitate a peace treaty between the two which eventually backfires as she hears of Denkyira’s plan to sabotage the Asantes army. She is locked up but eventually finds her way back to Osei again and the two are wed in a colorful ceremony. This isn’t before it is discovered that Osei is actually the first son of Otumfuo and thus, the deliverer. He overthrows Kojo yelling “moron, tie him up and bring him along!” (Ankomah-Kwakye, 2011, pg. 76). The same words that Kojo imprisoned Osei with. The Denkyira’s, after 6 years of war, are finally defeated under Osei’s rule. They are eventually seen as Asantes, and not oppressed. The tribes now live in peace, however the book ends in a cliff hangover with a new enemy arising from the South.

All in all, this was a beautifully written book and loosely explored some of the culture and history of Ghana. Historical fiction has the dual benefit of portraying the history while being imaginative and indulging in great story-telling. The overall feel of this novel was very reminiscent of the Alchemist for me. It was an action-packed thriller filled with a swiftly changing plot. I would highly recommend this book as it furthered my cultural understanding of the area and kept me very much interested throughout!

Works Cited

Ankomah-Kwakye, K. (2011). The Deliverer. Sub Saharan.

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