Review: Omari and the People by Stephen Whitfield

Today’s review is a little different for The Paperback Pilgrim, given that instead of discussing a physical book I’m going to be reviewing an audiobook.

Jess at The Audiobookworm got into contact with me about reviewing Omari and the People, a historical fiction novel set in ancient Africa, and let me just tell you I jumped at the chance.

Now, I do consider myself as an audiobook newbie, but this blog is all about the exploration of books, and so why not explore books in a new medium.

Interested to see how I took to listening to one of my first audiobooks? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.

The (Audio)Book

In an ancient African city, on the edge of a desolate desert, professional their Omari sets his magnificent home on fire to rest his existence. When the fire unintentionally sets the entire city on ablaze, the displaced inhabitants look towards an unlikely saviour, Omari. As the caravan, lead by Omari, head into the desert searching for a better place, they come face to face with bandits, storms, epidemics, and more.

The Review 

Omari and the People, as presented by Audible, had an 11-hour runtime, which is quite intimidating for any audiobook newcomer. And yet, due to the books slow burn, I didn’t find myself dreading turning it on.

Narrator Curt Simmons

One reason for my ability to tackle the long runtime was the narrator of this audiobook. Curt Simmons was captivating, and the accent he chose to put on throughout the entire run fit integrated nicely within the theme of the book.

Due to there not being a specified location for the African city, I felt that it gave Simmons the ability to choose what he though the character should sound like without the repercussions of it not being historically accurate, in turn making the performance more believable.

The narration style also made it easier to be fully immersed in the story as I wasn’t the one making up how the characters spoke to one another (makes me think I should listen to books more often).

The story, for me, was reminiscent of other stories I’ve read or experienced, mostly the story of Moses. However, the complex layers of each character, both individually and as a collective, made it feel, somehow, like I was experiencing its folklore for the first time.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Links

Shirley Castle PressAmazon | Barnes & NobleAudible



  1. Curt Simmons

    I appreciate your comments so much because I had only listened to a handful of audiobooks before I started narrating them. But now I’ve kind of fallen in love with the idea that audiobooks can help bring back the oral tradition in storytelling. I remember teachers who read novels to the class a chapter at a time after lunch each day and how the best of them could weave a powerful magic spell for a class full of 4th graders. That’s what I hope to do someday with my narration… not with just 4th graders though. 🙂


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