Set in a wonderfully reimagined 15th century West Africa, Masquerade is a dazzling, lyrical tale exploring the true cost of one woman’s fight for freedom and self-discovery, and the lengths she’ll go to secure her future.

Death, war, kidnapping.

Òdòdó’s hometown of Timbuktu has been conquered by the warrior king of Yorùbáland, and living conditions for the women in her blacksmith guild, who were already shunned as social pariahs, grow even worse.

Then Òdòdó is abducted. She is whisked across the Sahara to the capital city of Ṣàngótẹ̀, where she is shocked to discover that her kidnapper is none other than the vagrant who had visited her guild just days prior. But now that he is swathed in riches rather than rags, Òdòdó realizes he is not a vagrant at all; he is the warrior king, and he has chosen her to be his wife.

In a sudden change of fortune, Òdòdó soars to the very heights of society. But after a lifetime of subjugation, she finds the power that saturates this world of battle and political savvy too enticing to resist. As tensions with rival states grow, revealing elaborate schemes and enemies hidden in plain sight, Òdòdó must defy the cruel king she has been forced to wed by reforging the shaky loyalties of the court in her favor, or risk losing everything—including her life.

Loosely based on the myth of Persephone, O.O. Sangoyomi’s Masquerade takes you on a journey of epic power struggles and political intrigue which turn an entire region on its head.

Don't just take our word for it...

“A bewitching, thrilling and vibrant novel that had me enthralled with every twist and turn.”
– Jennifer Saint, New York Times bestselling author

“Mixing political intrigue and slow corruption with a captivating heroine and gorgeously rendered setting, Sangoyomi delivers an incisive examination of gender, temptation, and the lengths people will go to hold power—a magnificent debut!”
– Vaishnavi Patel, New York Times bestselling author

“With sweeping romance, an incredible setting, and a heroine who will stop at nothing to have the life she deserves, Masquerade is a triumphant blend of history and folklore that will keep you glued to the page.”
– Hannah Whitten, New York Times bestselling author

Taste the very first page

Each day, countless fleets of camel caravans sailed across the desert sea to reach Timbuktu.

Here, in this port city on the southern edge of the Sahara, waves of men, women, and children flooded the market, searching for supplies. Farmers and craftsmen proudly showcased their wares from behind wooden stands or in front of tents. Threads of dancers wove through cheerful crowds; juggling entertainers could be found on every corner. Travelers’ stories of far-off lands rose and fell with the playful chords of musicians. Vibrant colts and savory scents swirled in the air as Timbuktu teemed with the trading, buying, and selling of everything from exotic spies to brilliant fabrics to precious salt and gold.

But today, Timbuktu was still.

I stood in front of a wooden platform, along with what felt like half the market goers. Rain poured from the skies, soaking through my brown wrapper. Thunder rumbled as a Songhai general was dragged onto the platform by soldiers who were not his own.

They forced the general to his knees, the wood beneath him groaning over the incessant patter of rain. His wet robes were stained with blood and grime. Water trickled from his turban down his bruised face.

A third, smaller man drifted onto the platform. Lines were etched into his face, likes ripples in a shadow. Each line marked a history – a birth, a marriage, a death. He frowned as his gaze swept over the crowed, chronicling yet another wrinkle, another event.