I love fantasy novels such as Harry Potter, The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia, so when I saw Children of the Eternal Mother by Keon Francis, I was excited to read it. A fantasy based on Trinbagonian culture? Characters with whom I could easily identify? I held high expectations for this story and I was not disappointed. I was engrossed straight away!
Children of the Eternal Mother follows the adventures of Siwo and Roucou, who separately and together hold the key to saving their world from evil forces. Both characters encounter personal obstacles that are not easily solved, but necessary to overcome, in order for their individual purpose to be realised. While exploring Roucou and Siwo’s journeys, the reader encounters traditional mas characters such as Imps, Moko-Jumbie and Pierrot; folklore characters such as soucouyant and La Diablesse; and historical figures native to Trinidad such as Congo Barra and Chief Hyarima. I found myself being invested in the outcome of every character as Francis expertly wove the stories of the characters together to form a central plot while taking the reader on a journey filled with adventure and intrigue.
Another important element that stood out for me was the inclusion of stick-fighting chants which had a pore-raising effect while I read. Francis’ use of languages from different cultures, including African, Indigenous and Patois grounded me as a reader into an imaginary world that felt very familiar, as some of the terms that were used I knew from daily usage.
Children of the Eternal Mother is a well-written novel that drives home the point that we are extension of the earth and ancestors. Through the trees and soil, we are connected to the sacred earth. The earth and the soil contain so much information about our past and are key to our survival. It is when we are in tune with our environment that our path/purpose can easily reveal itself. By following your path/ purpose, you align and you realize your own Obeah. I see Obeah as the gift or gifts from God that makes me unique, different from others. Whether we face doubt of self or uncertainty in our abilities, we have to walk in faith as we walk, as we cannot run or hide from our purpose. So then, what is your Obeah?
‘… we are all made up of Obeah. We cannot all wield it, but it is there, in all of us… This is not something you can run away from.’ – pg. 185Children of the Eternal Mother