A prophesy of doom from the gods whose messages were usually too subtle, was revealed to the chief priest of Umuaro, leaving him and the elders in confusion and fear, unable to determine for sure, by whose sword they would fall and by which means they might avert this impending annihilation.
The gods watched silently and unmoved as they wallowed in their mere-mortal wisdom as they set about seeking solutions and considering the most heinous of abolished practices, anything to survive, and it was in the web this quest weaved that Nnachi and his soul-mate, Mowo, found themselves tangled in.
They must make a sacrifice, their love and more, else the entire community suffers for their selfishness. But they were reluctant, even as death approached the chores of their land.
The Story is a written play that quite deserves an accolade. It is set in a pre-colonial Igbo land, Umuaro, which suffered a couple of primitive societal vices�some of which were treated as topics/themes in the story� including the killing of twins, confusing mythical beliefs, slavery and even human sacrifice. But the story is not really about these as it does not focus on serving criticism for these topics, for those periods. Rather, the story is a pure work of art that serves no meagre or cliche topic, it tells the events in wholeness, picking on every part of any topic in a way that allows you to see it from several personal (but yet) objective point of views. It also, depicted the serene and utopian state of life in the culture of such period before conflicts and fear of annihilation gave rise to turmoil.
The story focused on the lives of more than a single or a pair of protagonists, but the heart and soul of the story line would be, unarguably, Nnachi and the love of his life, Mowo, a foreign woman who came far from home as a child. Their impact in the story gave more life to the story more than any other character and gave rise to the most of the splendid attributes that made the story great, including suspense, romance, comedy and pathos. The events of the story developed subsequently after a prophesy of doom about the community, came to Onwuka, an eccentric character and the Chief Priest of Umuaro and somehow the plot lead from the pandemonium that followed to lead to the thing which made Mowo and Nnachi the soul of the story.
The characters might be the most splendid part of the story, and that was as a result of their quality of uniqueness and being fully personified as live people. The writer displayed no laziness or lack of creativity in developing them. Each had a humanity that can be felt and understood or even be related to by any keen reader.
Mowo, for example was head-strong in her fights for women's rights, in her quest to lead a revolution, even though she could imagine the consequences of her actions. Like most of us, she had dreams and goals that she would rather die for than to be quenched.
Nna Nnubi and his friend, the Chief Priest, Onwuka, were other characters that became truly alive through this story. They represent the retired old men, fathers and grandfathers who did nothing else with their own lives other wait for death and worry about their children, their heir, their lineage; and they would do anything to protect these.
Nnachi, Uchendu, Chubi, Anene, these were other characters whose roles in the story creates a level of realism that makes you remember them with a picture in your head like they are real people you know.
The writer was smart, diligent and careful while dealing with matters that require accurate information as this is very important when dealing with a story about events that happened in the past. The character depicted the culture of the pre-colonial Igbo community really well, using idioms and proverbs where they should be, following protocols such as the ones employed in prayers to the gods with kola nuts and other materials. All these were written with such precision that deserves an ovation.
The dialogues are beautiful and entertaining, which is essential for written plays as we could only imagine the actions and narrations/descriptions are scarcely done except in setting the scene. For most of the discussions. The characters had peculiar manners of speech and each were witty and entertaining in their own way.
Story Line (7/10):
The story line is beautiful with every trick and twists that would keep any leader glued till it ends. One could not help but feel like the storyline does look like some other popular ones we've read before, but one would also not argue that the writer took something raw, something we're used to and turned it into something new and more special. Therefore, in that sense, this story is fresh, original in the ideas and feelings it ignites.
The writer intelligently succeeded with a plot twist that is sure to leave readers with gob smacked and impress. A reader would beat himself/herself up, feeling that he/she should have seen it coming. But that is the thing, you don�t. you don�t see it coming.
There were no dull or filer scenes in the story. Every part was not only entertaining but also played a role in the telling of the story, making it the sort of story that you do not dare skip even a line. Each line carried its own message and some elements of drama. One would not mind reading and rereading this book to get deeper insights into the story and have some of its hidden details revealed to them in the second or third round.
Long Trek from Freedom is such a story that deserves an award and it is for this reason that it is awarded with the Phoenix Award by the Fresh Writers Community. The play excelled greatly in so many aspects that it has proven difficult to make even a small list for its flaws. The Udechukwu is a writer to be reckoned with and so is his stories. It is for such books as his that the Phoenix Award was born.
Total grade: 80%;
-Reviewed by Benjamin Paul, avid reader and writer.