Publication Date: July 11, 2023
This powerful novel—full of tantalizing twists and turns, powerful heroes and heinous villains—is set in the fictional, impoverished African country of Maleziland and explores the corruption of power, the legacy of colonialism, and the putative integration of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa.
King Mabanda controls his country with a violent, omnipotent fist. The king’s son, Mandebala, is a tyrant-in-training who has grown up with the opulence and privilege of an uber-wealthy prince. But when the king meets Shigeku, the only captive survivor of a border war with a neighboring nation, the prisoner tells of switching his own brother at birth with the king’s actual son.
The king immediately extricates his true heir, Mateyo, from the slums to the palace to take his rightful place as the prince of Maleziland, while the loathsome Mandebala is thrown out and forced to live in the nearby shantytown. The benevolent new prince experiences the trappings and privileges of wealth and power, and ultimately embarks upon a plan that will improve the lives of his people and country. Meanwhile, the true brothers, Shigeku and Mandebala, plot, with the keen support of the Catholic Church, to over
Two male babies born on the same day, each on a path set by birth. One would grow up as the pampered son of a king, while the other lived in a shanty.
Author Brent Ludwig uses the fictional impoverished African country of Maleziland as the backdrop for Those Who Would Be King. He incorporates a baby swap into the story, which isn’t revealed until the boys are teens.
King Mabanda lives a life of excess and privilege while his subjects barely survive. He absolutely dotes on his son, Mandebala. When he discovers his true heir is living in poverty, the king brings Mateyo to the palace and tosses Mandebala away.
It’s a culture shock for both teens, yet the way they react to the change is much different. While Mateyo uses his past experience to create a plan to benefit all residents, Mandebala conspires to overthrow the regime.
There’s an interesting conclusion to be drawn regarding the nature vs. nurture philosophical debate using the story’s main characters as examples. It’s also worth noting that while King Mabanda uses force and intimidation to get his way, Mateyo embraces a much kinder disposition. Even though Mandebala wasn’t the king’s biological son, he mirrored many of the same negative personality traits.
Those Who Would Be King delivers a story full of twists and turns, highlighting the battle between good and evil.
Brent J. Ludwig is a reformed lawyer who currently runs his own boutique headhunting firm in Calgary and Vancouver, Canada. Brent practiced M&A law in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary, but did not let it stifle his love for storytelling and writing, first inspired while completing his undergraduate degree at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. As a “mining brat” child, Brent’s family moved virtually every year to remote towns, nurturing his broad, pan-Canadian outlook and an equally endearing and embarrassing small-town personality.
Brent currently lives in Calgary and spends his spare time cooking, drinking wine, and chasing soccer balls while coaching and shuttling three active children. He has a keen sense of interest in developing nations and trying to help as many people as possible by leveraging his writing and finance talents. Brent hopes that this book is the first of many.