Of Pawns & Players
Of Pawns & Players
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Of Pawns and Players

“It starts with a blow – by a man from a Mercedes Benz. Then a whirlwind of events changes a roadside food vendor’s life to that of flamboyance, deceit and malevolence.

In ‘Of Pawns and Players‘, Kinyanjui Kombani tackles the underground world of betting in the simple and humourous narrative style that has made him a household name in contemporary fiction.


This is the third novel from the Nairobi, Kenya based author popularly known as the “banker who writes”.

Of Pawns and Players starts with a punch, literally. A man in a white Mercedes accosts a mutura (African sausage) vendor based in Gardenia Estate.

The story then goes into the underground world of sports betting, exposing the corruption that riddles government agencies, the police, politicians and social media influencers.

It lifts the veil that hides the sham about the winners of the jackpots. It makes you question why the winners are always poor people, and are never seen after they collect their winnings.

Other themes in the book include family drama, which plays out when a daughter who disagrees with her father’s business ethics decides to get back at him by using a man’s affection to get rich.

The good old “rich girl-poor boy” relationship drama also unfolds, but at least in Of Pawns and Players, the romance does not conclude with lovers riding off into the sunset, hand in hand, having conquered all the world’s trials. The twist at the end of the tale is rather refreshing.






Number Of Pages




Year Published

March 2019


Kinyanjui Kombani


Oxford University Press


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