I received an Audible credit for Omari and the People as part of an Audiobookworm Blog Tour, in exchange for giving the book a fair review and posting about it here.
In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based in part on the Empty Quarter in Arabia) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home afire to start anew and to cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place which only he can lead them to, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The desperate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead – his very life – is jeopardized.
I was contacted by Jess, The Audiobookworm, to see if I was interested in reviewing the audiobook of Omari and the People, and I was nervous, but I agreed to do it. I’ve never reviewed an audiobook before, because audiobooks are a new thing for me. That being said, I loved this book. I loved Omari’s voice, I loved Curt Simmons’ narration, and I loved the journey that Omari led us on through the desert.
Omari and the People was originally published in 2014, but was published as an audiobook on June 20, 2016 by ShirleyCastle Press
Whitfield’s descriptions of the changing landscape, from the city to the desert to the oases, were breathtaking. Listening to this novel, I was struck with such severe wanderlust that I wanted to go into the desert with them.
Each character was distinct and surprising, and Simmons gave the important ones their own distinct characteristics while still providing a cohesive audio experience, which was really great. I loved Omari as a character. I love that Whitfield showed Omari’s anxiety and depression throughout the story, as well as showing him dealing with it. I felt like I was truly there with him through it all, which was such a nice feeling, despite the hardships.
Chicago-born Stephen Whitfield began writing as a Marine Corps print journalist. His writing has appeared in military publications, as well as the Kansas City Star and the Jersey Journal. He holds degrees from from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Indiana University. His various adventures have taken him to such places as London, Paris, Trondheim, Johannesburg, Beirut, most of The Virgin Islands and the wilder neighborhoods of Chicago.
Curt lives in Seattle and produces and narrates audiobooks in his home studio. He began his performing career in college as a stage actor and radio personality. After college, in addition to acting, Curt also did voiceovers for commercials, which he also wrote, directed, and edited for broadcast TV. Following the birth of his daughter in 1984, he left the performing arts to pursue a more “stable” profession managing projects. Then, in 2014 he returned to the professional stage for the first time in over 30 years as Walter Flood in Becky’s New Car by Stephen Dietz. He has also appeared recently as Lyman in Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz and Ralph in The Last Romance by Joseph DiPietro. Omari and the People is Curt’s sixth audiobook.