"Ile-Ife was the birthplace and origin of all the gods of our people, who in those days walked the earth and lived among mortal men."

Blending history with folklore, myth, and a little surrealism, this book follows the exile and migration of the Yoruba tribe from Nubia, the founding of Ile-Ife (today’s region of West Nigeria), the various adventures and conquests of its people, and the rise and fall of the civilization of Oyo. Readers are introduced to historical figures as well as gods and goddesses and learn how the actions and choices of these individuals have shaped Yoruba culture and tradition.

To compare this collection of Yoruba folklore to the numerous anthologies of the Greek and Roman pantheons seems unfair as it stands out on its own. Full of relatable tales with messages of human strength and weakness, this book—the first in a trilogy—provides both context and insight into the formation of the Yoruba culture as well as its partial erasure. The author successfully channels his storyteller culture via the character of The Old Woman and conveys his skill with energetic, lyrical prose. Each chapter is prefaced by a short poem that touches upon the theme, and each story is brought to life thanks to full, rich detail and the inclusion of the language.

Readers will find new heroes in people like Moremi of Ile-Ife, who sacrifices herself to the Igbo demons raiding her village as a way of saving the village, or Ogborogan, who leaves his village to make a name for himself. Whether someone has a vague knowledge of Yoruba folklore and history or is well-versed in the stories and traditions of the culture, this book is sure to keep readers captivated with a story for everyone.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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