Kingdom Tales is a dystopian allegory about a group of animal kingdoms fighting for power, love and total control of other kingdoms.
Charles Umerie wrote this book as an allegory to the events that took place in Africa after the end of colonial rule in Africa.
Towards the end of slave trade in Africa, there were no countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and the Congo; there were only tribal groups and kingdoms. The missionaries at the time worked with philanthropists to create a public opinion hostile to slave trade, and also helped promote penetration of the hinterland.
This led to the rule of the colonial masters during the 1910s and 1920s. This period was marked as the time Africans lost confidence in their culture and personality; and anything of African origin was looked down upon. During the World War II, a good number of Africans were provided opportunity to travel the world, and they witnessed the nationalist struggles happening in other parts of the world such as Burma and India. When they returned home after the war, they indirectly shared their nationalist ideas with their fellow Africans.
This led to most African nations under colonial rule to start making some demands from their colonial masters. Their colonial masters were sympathetic to their demands because most of these African nations contributed a lot in man-power and money to aid them during the World War II. The demands brought about development in road, air travel and some other places. These developments–especially in broadcasting–allowed Africans to quickly know what was going on in the world and that solidified the nationalist idea already in the people’s mind.
After World War II, the same Africans that lost confidence in their culture and personality all of a sudden started demanding for self-rule, and the clamour for that self-rule reverberated across Africa. 1950s and 1960s saw a great deal of African nations gaining their independence and putting an end to colonial rule. But that was just the beginning of civil wars and ethnic conflict.
In Kingdom Tales, the war between the bats and the eagles had been a thing of see-saw win and lose. It went from kings to kings, till King Hasha, eagles’ king, was able to conquer some parts of the bat kingdom and had access to the shrine of the legendary dark staff.
The eagles lived in the mountains (Mountain Kingdom). The bats lived in the caves (Cave Kingdom). And the other animals like lions and tigers lived in the forest (Forest Kingdom). These three kingdoms had same borders like Nigeria, Cameroun and Niger Republic.
The author had to work with animals, so they were privileged to enjoy the things we humans enjoy. In this book, they could speak, laugh, think, fight, and even love. Apart from that, this is a perfect strategic book that doesn’t need a complex mind to grasp the intriguing and unpredictable events as they unfold in the book.
It was written in an elegantly simple style, and the author, Charles, used the animal kingdoms as a metaphor for the African nations. The story started when King Hasha (Eagles’ king), the ruler of Mountain Kingdom defeated the Cave Kingdom (the Bats) in their quest for a legendary Dark Staff. In real life, this Dark Staff can be a total freedom or independence; because in African folklores, staffs always signify independence or having authority.
Then in the Mountain Kingdom (Eagles’ home), Charles made us to understand that even though the kingdom is strong, it still received support from the ‘creepy’ Falcons who aren’t part of the kingdom. This can be analyzed as the support most African nations got from their colonial masters, which they didn’t believe were genuine supports, rather as a way their masters hoped to exploit them more.
Also while the Mountain Kingdom, Cave Kingdom, and the Forest Kingdom were all searching for the Dark Staff (total freedom), they were also plagued with internal issues. King Hasha lost his throne to one of his soldiers, and was exiled to another kingdom for some time. Something of that nature also happened to the Bats’ king. This could be the time African nations were plagued with coups, civil wars and genocides.