Date Of Release: May 28, 2018

Publisher: Indie

Listening Time: 20:49

Genre: Historical Fiction, Religious Fiction

The application of technology to push various forms of creativity in a highly digitalized world has grown in leaps and bounds, from producing independent short films to basically no-budget music videos. Their creative cousin, the book, is still a long way off though: writers around the world are still at the mercy of publishers, and authors of e-books are hardly taken seriously unless there is a physical version of the body of work penned down. There are those, whoever, who keep braving the odds, and who keep writing in spite of the hindering structures in place.

Isaac Newton Akah, a screenwriter and storyteller who enjoys a huge following on Facebook, is one of those who have tried to change the game in recent times. His e-books “Living in Gidi ” (2016) and “Women We Know” (2017) have been treated to relatively positive reviews, and while the issue of breaking into major literary scenes with electronic books is a discussion for another day, Akah’s creative drive is nothing short of admirable. Unwilling to relent, he has put out another sizeable creative piece, this time serving it in audio form.

“Bathsheba”, which forms part of a proposed Broken Series, is a fictionalized account of the Biblical love triangle which involved King David, Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. Here, Akah makes effort to bring life to what would ordinarily be another Old Testament story, as he tries to spin a yarn from the perspective of a cuckolded soldier and a pretty helpless wife. Their feelings are expressed in form of letters, Uriah writing from the war front, and Bathsheba scribbling in a small apartment in ancient Israel.

Akah infuses life into Uriah’s version of events, with good imagery and accurate sound effects in the background depicting the dangers faced on the battlefield. Things slow down a bit when the letter gets to the “how I met you” side of things “, as the words turn cheesy and the attempt to draw emotion seems forced, but it’s well mixed nonetheless, with a fitting score that creates mental images of epic movies like Gladiator, Ben-Hur and Troy.

Bathsheba ‘s account, which begins with a bang, is a lot more emotive, and except for the needless “ah”s, shows her as helpless and broken. Again, the score prevails here, with the mood significantly influenced by a sorrowful flute that reminds the listener of a 90s Asian movie.

The audio input of King David is far less remarkable, and the reference to the author ‘s social media handles at the end sour the whole experience, making it less sophisticated and giving it a ring of something done in a poorly painted studio in Oshodi. There’s also the feeling that at least one more letter could have been exchanged in the build up to Uriah ‘s murder, but marks have to be given for effort here.

Most audio books are either replications of conventionally published books, or poetry collections, but with “Bathsheba”, Isaac Newton Akah stretches fiction ‘writing’ beyond eyes and takes it to the ears as well. This is by no means perfect, but this is commendable, and if you won’t read your Bible (if you still have one, that is), you should listen to this.

Rating : 6.7/10

(To download Bathsheba, click here )