The Lies of the Ajungo (The Forever Desert #1) (Hardcover)
Set in a secondary world reminiscent of Saharan Africa, Moses Ose Utomi's debut novella, The Lies of the Ajungo, follows one boy’s epic quest to bring water back to his city and save his mother’s life.
They say there is no water in the City of Lies. They say there are no heroes in the City of Lies. They say there are no friends beyond the City of Lies. But would you believe what they say in the City of Lies?
In the City of Lies, they cut out your tongue when you turn thirteen, to appease the terrifying Ajungo Empire and make sure it continues sending water. Tutu will be thirteen in three days, but his parched mother won’t last that long. So Tutu goes to his oba and makes a deal: she provides water for his mother, and in exchange he will travel out into the desert and bring back water for the city. Thus begins Tutu’s quest for the salvation of his mother, his city, and himself.
The Lies of the Ajungo opens the curtains on a tremendous world, and begins the epic fable of the Forever Desert. With every word, Moses Ose Utomi weaves magic.
About the Author
Moses Ose Utomi is a Nigerian-American fantasy writer and nomad currently based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. He has an MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College and short fiction publications in Fireside Fiction, Fantasy Magazine, and more. His debut YA fantasy novel, Daughters of Oduma, will be coming out in early 2023. When he’s not writing, he’s traveling, training martial arts, or doing karaoke—with or without a backing track.
“Gripping and full of heart, the tale bubbles with a love of story itself. Utomi’s star is on the rise and I can’t wait to see what his imagination brings us next.” —Maurice Broaddus
“The Lies of the Ajungo is a tightly-packed, devastating punch, a masterful use of the novella as form and a heartbreaking tale of the lies we hold on to—the lies that help us live and the lies that hold us back.” —C. L. Clark, author of The Unbroken
“A captivating and violent fable, The Lies of the Ajungo plumbs the depths of deception yet bursts with hope. Taut and unexpected. I devoured it.” —Fonda Lee, author of the Green Bone Saga
“Utomi is on the brink of something exceptional.” —Suyi Davies Okungbowa, author of Son of the Storm
“Exquisitely crafted and original. Fiction at its best shows us the truth by telling us lies.” —T. L. Huchu, author of The Library of the Dead
“A searing and mythical tale of manipulation, kindness, and sacrifice.” —Marie Brennan, author of A Natural History of Dragons
“The Lies of the Ajungo is a masterfully epic and delightful tale. It is rich with, and spun from West African lore, with puzzles that unfurl before you as you read, thrilling fight scenes, wonderful mysteries, slowly unfolding secrets, and a dazzling revelation at the end of it all.” —Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki