Lords of Misrule by Joel Hirst is the first literary novel I have read that reflects the motivations and consequences of Jihadist movements in the post-colonial Africa. Being a Muslim and living in the hotspot of the Boko Haram insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria, I find a lot of familiar events in the book.

Lords of Misrule is a story of Aliuf’s transition from a teenager that is guided by his mum to a man that is controlled by his imaginations, and the consequences of his wrong choice. Inspired by a desire to create a name for himself and his Tuareg community in Mali that has been corrupted by western countries and local officials, Aliuf becomes a student of a radical Muslim scholar and later joined a terrorist movement that made him a Judge and Administrator of the captured Timbuktu, a capital of the newly established Islamic Republic of Azawad. But shortly, a more violent Jihadist group commanded by his old friend Salif overtakes the city, and replaced Aliuf’s exhortations to Shariah with new, harsh rules. That is when Aliuf finally realized the consequences of his becoming a lord of misrule and a messenger of great darkness. He regretted his actions, and apologized publically; but it’s too late for him, as his old friend – the new Caliph executed him for blasphemy.

Lords of Misrule is a story of self-discovery, friendship, love, radicalization, betrayal and culture in a fast-changing world. I highly recommend this book, especially to youth and policy experts that are fighting the misrule.

Imrana Alhaji Buba


Youth Coalition Against Terrorism

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