Review: The Okapi Promise
The Okapi Promise by Paula Boer is a must-read. She managed to create compelling, unique characters and then made each come alive as she changes the point of view and you climb up inside each of their heads.
You care about all of them. Boer places these characters together to journey across the African continent. Each one has a strength and a weakness that plays on the success of the long, hard safari.
With an international cast of characters, there seem to be different things each character wants to accomplish. Africa is rugged enough and high risk is some areas, which affect the goals of individuals. Boer must have made a similar junket because the book is laden with minute details about Africa and the people.
I got lost in the book, huffing up Mt. Kilimanjaro, feeling the oppressive heat and dust, impatiently waiting to get the old modified Bedford TK to pull out of the jungle potholes and puddles, and sweated with them as they hacked through the jungle to clear a new road to get around the stuck vehicles that had no inclination to move.
Boer’s voice is strong, and she makes you see the animals and the people, smell the heated fruit in the open markets, hear the sounds of the jungle, and taste the horrible chlorinated water.
The Okapi Promise is a thriller, a story of intrigue, and deception. The reader eventually finds out why each one really traveled in Africa. It wasn’t the holiday each felt in the beginning. You experience the serene Africa, the happy extremely poor people, and the crossfire of a Civil War.
Without giving too much away, you have a new challenge or surprise in every chapter, which rises to an unthinkable climax and an ending I never expected. This story changed the characters forever and you, too, will not be the same after reading it.