Saturday, 7 April 2012


Source: Marshall Cavendish
This is one unsettling novel.

It begins with a young woman's quest into Tuwau Valley, seeking the truth about her missing grandfather. Years before, Hasyr, a prominent archaeologist, studied the Imorot people. He wrote in his book, Native World, about a mysterious man who help change the course of the Imorot civilisation, guiding them from worshipping idols to worshipping The One.

Although Syan is certain that her grandfather already dead, she is still determined to find out why he decided to spend the rest of his life living with the Imorot. Why did Hasyr left Syan's grandmother and the rest of the family? Why was he so interested in the Imorot and their mysterious man?

The Imorot, as Syan soon discoveres, were known for a having sacred building in their village, called the Jaabah. Before the arrival of the mysterious man, the Imorot danced, chanted, and offered sacrifices to the idols around the Jaabah. The Jaabah was under the custody of the Muraisy, a prominent clan of the Imorot tribe, who also looked after the water spring of Yamyam, the worshippers' main source of drinking water. Once, a tribal king from the north named Baraha wanted to demolish the Jaabah and marched towards Tuwau Valley with an army of wolf-riding soldiers, each beast was said to be large as an elephant. Baraha and his men were met with a flock of hornbills that flew from the hills, carrying stones in their beaks and claws. The stones, scattered by birds over the army, contained a disease that caused disfiguring injuries. The army retreated in humiliation and the Jaabah was safe once more.

Any of this sound familiar?

It should, if you know your Early History of Islam. The parallels are likely intentional, but the real shocker comes when Syan learns more about the mysterious man. His mother was abducted from the village by a foreigner and she later returned pregnant with a child without a biological father, which she swore by the name of The One. She gave birth to a boy who grew up to become the man who would guide to the new faith.

Actually, the back cover gives away a huge clue about the mysterious man. If you're planning to read this book, please don't read whatever is printed on the back or even the reviews of it online or anywhere, because it will seriously spoil the big reveal towards the end. And be prepared your mind for a whirling tornado of questions.You shall be discomforted.


nahmy said...

السلم عليكم ورحمة الله

reading the backcover is just like reaching the destination, aren't the most glorious moment in travelling is the on-the-road experience? anyhow thanks for sharing this brother..

r.o.l. said...

Alaikum salam WBT, nahmy. Sorry for the late reply, just got back from kampung, Internet access there is a bit spotty, so I took a several days break from the online world :-D

If you interested to read the book, please mind the spoiler-y back cover. Actually this is not the first time a Malaysian book is spoiled by the persons who designed the book's layout and blurbs and so on, and when this happens it really messes up the story. This doesn't happen often though, thank God.

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