Blurb “In the international market, they call it sweet crude – low-Sulphur crude oil. It is targeted by oil thieves in the Niger Delta, who siphon it from the pipelines and sell to the highest bidder. This brutal black market is a web connecting rich barons in gleaming cities to savage militants in the creeks. This is the world Bruce Telema is lured into. But even as he outruns poverty and gains a fearsome reputation in the oil cabal, death, karma and the law stay close on his heels.”
Dialogue Written in English, Nigerian colloquialism and Pidgin language. The dialogue flows sometimes and other times it seems unnatural.
Themes Greed, Poverty vs Wealth, Good vs Evil, fight for survival, Betrayal, Romance and Redemption.
Editing A few grammatical errors and needed more structural editing.
Plot Bruce Telema has just lost his job. The temporary job he got to make ends meet, barely paid the bill, when he was approached by a British man, Steve at a bar. Steve approached bearing a too-good-to-be-true deal of a life time, a means to escape the life Bruce was currently living. For the next 10 years, Bruce was involved in the underbelly dealings of illegal bunkering-stealing crude oil and trading it internationally. With a fat bank account, Bruce rose from a struggling young man to enjoying life on the fast lane and living in exotic places. But life was soon to catch up with him. With a bigger deal up for grabs, he ran into trouble, made enemies and had the several inter-government intelligence agencies on his heels. He falls in love with a woman, Kathy, who made him question his faith and his choice of life.
What worked? Carefully written in the first person, Bruce Telema is the narrator of his own story. Employing vividly descriptive words, and written in a fast-paced manner, the author engages the mind of the reader with a ton of twists and turns. The plot of this book is its strength. It explores greed as a major driving theme that is common with people who choose the life of crime, while the other secondary themes support the book perfectly. The story carefully explores the activities of the Niger Delta militants. Exposing the corruption, the hideous face of the Niger Delta and the hazardous way of life chosen by people to make money.
The book started on 15 September 2004 in Bonny Island and quickly moved on to October 2014 to December 2014, London. The effective use of specific locations and dates to punctuate the chapters helps to properly follow the personal odyssey of Bruce. Bruce’s character was carefully developed, from his personal decision to enter the world of organised crime and the gradual build-up to the self-introspection that informs his decision to depart from the dangerous life.
There are secondary plots that eventually put things in perspective.
This is actually a good debut from Lawrence Amaeshi.
*Note that this book may come off as an inspirational fiction.
What didn’t work? The dialogue sometimes reads unnaturally when it is between non-Nigerians. The elaborate plot started getting wobbly by the middle and it became difficult to follow. I do not know if it was deliberate but some of the dates on the chapters completely threw me off. There were jumps from 2014 to 2015 and back to 2014 but the plot didn’t change. There were obvious loopholes and gaping holes that were hurriedly closed without any form of closure (I’m looking at Daisy’s angle.).
Number of pages 368.
Publisher Kachifo Limited.
Damage $4.21 on Amazon.
Sweet Crude Odyssey is available on Amazon.