Title: Jungle Drumbeats
Author: Uche Ezeh Al
Publisher: Minshred Media
Year of publication: 2011
Page number: 382 pages
Reviewer: Akinpelu Yusuf O.
Jungle Drumbeats. It is like a local delicacy garnished with foreign spices. It is like a perfect blend of foreign and local cuisines, seasoned with mouth-watering ingredients and prepared by a hand, gifted with culinary dexterity. Ian Whitehead, a British Reporter, works with the Political Desk of Sunday Mirror. He is a nosy reporter whose eye for big stories is high.
Nigeria had just gained independence. And a war had just broken loose in the country. To Ian, Harros Witson, British Prime Minister, and his cabinet are criminally imbued in the pogrom. No one would believe him not even his Editor. Now, the stage was set between Ian Whitehead and Whitehall, Mirror’s Editor.
With many leaked memos vindicating his belief, Ian’s quest to unravel the truth was undying. His quest would come with a cost: He would be temporarily suspended from his work place and the war front has to be visited. From here, to Lagos he shall go. From there on, his world is on the run for survival.
All through his journeys, it were like I am on course with Ian – the author is able to bring me into the book and make me an imaginative character second only to Ian, the book’s main character. Uche’s words are fluidic and crispy, explicit and fascination, deep and creative. His narratives and descriptions depict beauty and literary vastness, wrapped with cultural depth.
Ian’s journalistic quest turn around to become an adventurous odyssey where hostility, kidnap, bloodbath, starvation, cannibalism, sorcery, trials were in the wait for him. He discovered the truths. He saw the false. He encountered the mysteries. He met the war-battered. He paid the price for daring to delve into the mystical side of the Biafran war. But to Ian, it was worth the price. To Ian, when completed, his discoveries will make a groundbreaking story; for Uche Ezeh, it is debut novel.