Discussion Questions

  1. Madoowbe could be described as a shape shifter. He can never be relied on to tell the whole truth, though he is good in a crisis and in the end lays down his life for Marika and Sufia. If he could write his own epitaph, what would it be?
  2. Dalmar Asad has an unusual skin pigmentation. This might be construed as a symbol for competing European/African elements in his persona. We learn that he has had a poor background. Money, it seems, is not enough. What does Dalmar Asad really want? What does he strive for?
  3. Rotten Gods presents the story from several viewpoints, each attempting to explain the circumstances of each character’s lives, and why they act in the way they do. A straight good versus evil tale would have been much simpler. Why do you think the author took this approach and did it make the book a more satisfying read?
  4. Isabella is perhaps the most tragic character of the book. Yet, at the critical moment she makes a choice—that even the lives of her own children are less important than the truth. Is this selfless act enough to redeem her earlier actions?
  5. At the end of the book, has Ali Khalid Abukar decided not to press the trigger, or would he have gone ahead if the Special Forces troops had not come through the bunker?
  6. Gods in their various guises become almost synonymous with violence in this book, or at least a very important causative factor. Both Christian and Muslim gods are, however, described by their followers as symbols of peace and unity. Are violent extremists merely psychopaths using religion as an excuse?
  7. Discuss: ‘The values of a community of people are more about their innate ethical values than strictures handed down in a religious manifesto.’
  8. The man and woman building their hut in the rain is a powerful symbol in Marika’s mind. What does it mean and why does it resonate so strongly with her?
  9. Rotten Gods offers a vision of our world in a few years time. Do you think the picture the book paints is realistic?  
  10. The book does not show how Simon reacts when he hears of Isabella’s death. What do you think he might wish he had said to her?

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