Book Review: 'Trophies and Survival' explores and unravels the bitterness of revenge

A coming-of-age tragedy, Hikano's debut 'Trophies and Survival' is a reminder of the rich head-hunting days of the great Naga warrior ancestors.

ByThemreichon Leisan

Updated 6 Aug 2022, 8:52 am

(Photo by Themreichon Leisan)
(Photo by Themreichon Leisan)

Trophies and Survival by Hikano H Awomi

Publisher: Heritage Publishing House 

Genre: Historical Tragedy; Fiction 

Pages: 236 | Price: 450

The human head is the ultimate trophy for the people. It is the warrior’s prestige, wealth and status among the villagers and his fellow warriors. Villagers were wrapped around the notion that a person’s head was rich, containing the person’s wisdom, wealth, and all that nature had to offer. Thus bringing the head means bringing everything along with it.


Often, revenge comes disguised in the form of contentment, yet it unravels toxicity as time progresses. They say revenge is sweet but its fruit is bitter. Hikano Awomi explores this indication in his debut book Trophies and Survival

Set in the time when the ancestors hunted heads for existence, Trophies and Survival chronicles the toxicity of revenge, betrayal, trying to find place in a patriarchal society and fighting for survival through the story of Lipumu, a young warrior.

What the boys heard were sounds of war and battle. They were also clear that it was not their village warriors as they had listened to them since they were born.

A coming-of-age tragedy, Trophies and Survival is a reminder of the rich head-hunting days of the great Naga warrior ancestors. It was a time when people communicated through war cries. One day, Lipumu witnessed his father being killed in front of him by the enemy village and his father’s head being tossed away as victory trophy. Bitterness and vengefulness filled the young boy’s heart from then on. Avenging his father’s death became his ultimate goal but what the young boy did not realise was that the toxicity of revenge would soon wear him away.

Women’s lives were difficult without a husband in their society. Widows and orphans were looked down upon and discriminated against and had no voice. “

Awomi reiterates the patriarchal system that dominated the society. Women and widows had no voice in the society. Lipumu grew up defending his place in the patriarchal society and protecting his widowed mother. He finds the beauty of friendship in his best friend Jamutha. As a young warrior, Lipumu started bringing home trophies (heads). His desire to avenge his father’s dead grew beyond control. In the process, so many people’s head were taken by Lipumu. The feeling of guilt and betrayal grew stronger in him. He indulges himself in the trade of the white-skinned people and is able to amass huge wealth. He marries Kaili but the spirits won’t bless him with an heir. 


Sooner or later, everyone must pay their share for what they have done. The mysteries too will reveal themselves today or tomorrow, whether we see them or not.”

Hikano Awomi explores the themes of widowhood, revenge, betrayal, patriarchy, friendship, ablution, death, childhood and survival in this book. He also bring in the spirit world in his narration. Lipumu, in his older days realises that his spirit animal has been protecting him since his childhood days. 

The story starts off bitter but at the end there is forgiveness and ablution of one’s sins. As an act of cleansing herself from the wrongs she did to Lipumu, Kaili sends away Lipumu’s son who was born to him by Ayiko, to white-skinned people so that the child would have a better life. 

Did Lipumu avenged his father’s death? What happened to Lipumu and his mother?

If you love reading historical tragedy, then Trophies and Survival by Hikano H Awomi is a must read.



First published:


book reviewHikano H AwomiTrophies and Survival

Themreichon Leisan

Themreichon Leisan

Independent book reviewer and Educator


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