“Omari And The People” by Stephen Whitfield. In The City, located on the sea of Providence, somewhere in the Empty Quarter of the Sahara Desert on the African continent, during the `13th Century, a rogue known as the Phantom Thief takes pleasure in robbing the wealthy ruling class; He lives high on his takings, as well, but has a good heart. An old woman in the square begs for food, which he buys for her when he visits the poor section. Returning to his home one night, he discovers that his wife has betrayed him, and has revealed his identity to the authorities. Burning his mansion, the fire also destroys The City. When he notices the old woman is still inside the flames, he rushes back to rescue her. Now he’s tasked with leading the survivors of The City to a fabled Paradise somewhere in the desert.
Omari was that mysterious thief, a young rogue, good with a sword and tricks, who enjoyed stealing the government’s tax money, even though he did not need it. But what, or who has chosen him to lead the exodus to the Promised Land? The handsome young rogue attracts the eye of a number of young women on the caravan, but he has fallen for Saba Khan, a warrior woman possessing some magic of her own, though the real magic belongs to the old woman he had saved from the fire.
This was a very interesting story, and kept my interest throughout. The characters were fascinating, the magic was brilliant, and the story telling was smooth. Truthfully, however, I felt that Omari the Phantom Thief was more interesting than Omari the caravan leader. And at times the story does slow on the journey through the desert. This novel could have been serialized in ARGOSY or ADVENTURE in the 1930’s. There is no language, and sex is kept off screen.