Queen Sono is Netflix’s first African series. The spy thriller was created by Kagiso Lediga and stars Pearl Thusi as the titular character.
The story chronicles the exciting life of a South African secret agent who takes on dangerous criminals in high-level espionage.
Queen is everything you’ve ever wished for in a crime hero. She beats up bad guys. She commands the screen in beautifully choreographed high-octane actions scenes. Her methods are unorthodox, often blatantly illegal. Plus, she has a drama-filled personal life.
Queen Sono is a certified binge-worthy show. It premiered on February 28 and has since garnered a lot of attention, scoring reviews on almost every major platform, from the New York Times to the Hollywood Reporter.
If you haven’t watched it, move it to the top of your binge-list.
If you’ve seen it already, good for you. Here are 8 books by African writers to read the next time you’re in the mood for something Queen Sono-ish.
Ghanaian novelist and surgeon Kwei Quartey has delighted readers for the last decade with his sharp-witted crime thrillers. The Dawson Darko series gives you five novels set in Accra.
The last book in the series came out in 2017. Death By His Grace has Dawson Darko sniffing out the killer of a bride, a journey that takes him into the heart of Accra’s religious universe.
For a female-led crime thriller, check out Easy Motion Tourist, the first book in Leye Adenle’s Amaka Series. Amaka Mbadiwe is a sex-worker’s superhero. She is bad news to powerful Lagos men who treat women badly.
Children of Blood and Bone is the first of two books in Tomi Adeyemi’s Orisha Trilogy. It is an action-packed fantasy about two adventure-seeking, brave, and visionary young women one, who will stop at nothing to protect their world from the madness of a vengeful king.
Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King is a novel about women breaking all the rules to save the world and live their fullest and most rewarding life. It tells the story of a band of women who take part in the second Italo-Ethiopian war.
The Binti Trilogy is special because it celebrates African girlhood. It tells the story of a girl named Binti being a superhero, going on interstellar journeys through the universe to fight evil forces and restore justice to the world.
My Sister The Serial Killer is another story of women behaving badly and living their best possible lives. Two Lagos sisters form a lethal duo against clueless Lagos men. When Ayoola’s boyfriends turn up dead, Korede gets rid of the bodies. But things get way past complicated when Ayoola triest to steal Korede’s beau.
The marvel universe teems with powerful women saving the world. Shuri is no different. T’Challa’s sister won our hearts in Black Panther. But Nnedi Okorafor made us fall even more in love with her in a spin-off series of her own that has her geeking out on tech stuff while protecting Wakanda in her brother’s absence.
For those with a taste for old-school offerings, we dug through the African literary archive to find this beauty. Our Mother Walatta Petros is an Ethiopian Saint who lived in the 17th century.
Walatta Petros was essentially an activist and community organizer. Like Queen Sono, she traveled all over, challenging systems of power and shutting down mean, power-hungry men.
Her biography, written in 1672, chronicles her extraordinary life. It tells the pretty action-packed story of her being on the run from her husband, the many miracles she performed, including protecting her monastery from wild animals and challenging Christ in a rhetorical battle.