My Blog

Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Monday, March 23, 2015

Omari And The People

In an ancient time, a people made homeless by a devastating fire are led across a treacherous desert by a thrill-seeking thief, to a land he doesn't believe exists - and he started the fire. In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based on descriptions of the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter,) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home on fire to start anew and cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place to which only he can lead them, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The disparate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari's involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead - his very life - is jeopardized.

Omari And The People (Epic Adventure)
By Stephen Whitfield
Sherlie Castle Press
ISBN #978-0964429031
#12.10 Paperback
366 Pages
Rating 4-Stars

“In The Style of The Old Classic Adventure Literature.”

In The City, located on the Sea of Providence, somewhere in the Empty Quarter of the Sahara Desert 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 in love with 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. For anyone wishing to read a family adventure classic, I can highly recommend this book to you.

Tom Johnson
ECHOES Magazine

    As was his way, bin Aswad took no part in the celebration, and actually enjoyed his time alone as everyone else danced, sang and ate. Indeed, he had always found great pleasure in his love of numbers – calculating expenses, inventories and ultimately, profits. Despite Omari’s warnings about making money from the needs of others, bin Aswad had found it profitable to provide specialty clothing for those who could afford it. He found that some people paid well for themselves and or their family to look good in new clothing, and he was very clever in the re-use of old clothes to make new garments, as his cloth supply dwindled. Instead of being rich in coin, he now had more than his share of food, water, tools and other valuables.
    He was happily humming a tuneless melody while he sat counting a number of small gems, when his tent flap flew open. A stunning young woman moved in quickly and stood over him. Astonished, he scrambled backwards with his eyes and mouth wide open, spilling the gems onto the tent floor.
    “Ho, bin Aswad. Easy,” said the woman in a husky voice, and a bright smile that revealed white, even teeth. “I wish you no harm.” She raised her palms to calm his fright and sat down. “In fact, I believe I might be of some service to you.  My name is Saba Khan. Did you drop something?”
    No longer terrified, bin Aswad was still too surprised and embarrassed to form any reply, except to start picking up his gems while glancing up at the stranger. At first glance, Saba Khan possessed what might be called an extraordinary beauty – enough to turn heads, and very pleasing to the eye. In bin Aswad’s lamplight, her complexion was a satiny smooth, golden brown that seemed to blend into the darkness. Her finely sculpted face framed dark amber, almond-shaped eyes, which made him pause. For the brief moment he held her gaze, he was so struck by their sheer intensity, intelligence and perceptiveness that he stopped picking up his gems. His attitude changed to awe and he was willing, even eager to hear what she had to say.
    “How do you know my name?” he mumbled, too awestruck to ask all the questions in his mind.
    “You are well-known, bin Aswad. You have many customers—people you talk to and trade with. Some of the things you receive in trade are precious gems, such as that one you missed, just there.” She pointed a slender finger at a ruby behind him.
    “That gets people’s attention. Some of the things you’ve said are bound to get even more attention – such as the fact that you are unhappy with Master Omari’s leadership.” She leaned forward and opened her eyes wide. “Allow me to offer you some free advice – trade your gems away and keep your opinions to yourself.”
    Bin Aswad noticed the hilt of a dagger in her waistband. As the idea of danger began to form in his mind, beads of sweat broke out on his upper lip. “That’s some strong advice,” he said, in an effort to sound self-assured. “What do you have to do with my opinions or my gems?”
    Saba Khan chuckled. “I’m not here to harm you, bin Aswad. I’m here to suggest that I might be able to help you solve your problem with Master Omari…for the cost of some of your gems.” She raised her brow and tilted her head to the side. “Are you interested in seeing someone else in charge of the caravan? Someone more sensitive to your business interests?”
    He frowned and leaned forward. “And how would you…”  
    “You don’t need to know that,” she said.  “All you need to know is if you pay my price, your satisfaction is guaranteed.”
    He stared at the woman in amazement. “What do you do?  Are you some kind of killer? I don’t want to kill anyone.”
    “I make things happen,” she replied. “And don’t worry; you don’t have enough gems for anyone to be killed. Not even that great blue jewel you have hidden in your robe.”
    Bin Aswad’s eyes widened again. “You know about the jewel?”
    “That is why I’m here,” she said in a low voice.  “Remember my first advice? You’re not going to be able to hang onto such a stone much longer anyway. Too many people know about it. Right now, all you have to do is say ‘yes’ to the deal. If you do, I will give you more details later.  Of course, whether you agree or not, I must refer you back to the second advice – keep your business to yourself. Now, do we have a deal?” She leaned forward and smiled as if she knew the answer.


  1. Thanks for the positive review! I'll check in from time to time today to answer any questions/comments.

  2. Thanks, Stephen. I love the old stories that appeared in ADVENTURE and ARGOSY back the pulp magazines, and wish we saw more of them today. I also enjoy good sword play in a novel. A large group of people traveling across the desert in close quarters would result in a lot of misadventure and flying tempers, I would imagine, and I'm sure we would see many fists, knives, and swords drawn in anger. A little more action in your novel would have been a thrill. As it was, it's still a darn good adventure story, and I think readers will enjoy it.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I like your cover illustrations. Do you have someone do it or are you an illustrator, too?

  5. Hi Stephen, Sometimes Amazon gives me problems posting reviews on my account, so I have to use my wife's account, that's why the review on Amazon is under her name. Sorry for the confusion. I usually hire an artist to do my covers, though sometimes the publishers insist they provide the cover. If you will look on my Link section on the right of the Page, you'll see the name Teresa Tunaley, she's one of my cover illustrators, just click on the Link. I have a couple others that do good work, though some are expensive. Teresa is very reasonable, and will listen to what the author wants on the cover.

  6. That's great information. I've heard of Virginia E.Johnson from Masters and Johnson, so I just wondered...
    I just started reading one if yours - Its got a bad guy named Carlos Santana! Maybe I'll review it.

  7. No relation to Matsers & Johnson (LOL). I can't remember one of my characters named Carlos Santana, but I've created so many characters I'm sure to forget some of them (ha). What's the name of the story?

  8. Ah yes, thanks Stephen, Carlos was a minor character. A hood, if I remember correctly. That was actually the second story in my Black Ghost series, where Jimmy meets his future wife.Pure pulp, with masked vigilantes, et al.