Synopses & Reviews
The Book of Saladin
is the fictional memoir of Saladin, the Kurdish liberator of Jerusalem, as dictated to a Jewish scribe, Ibn Yakub. Saladin grants Ibn Yakub permission to talk to his wife and retainers so that he might present a full portrait in the Sultan’s memoirs. A series of interconnected stories follows, tales brimming over with warmth, earthy humor and passions in which ideals clash with realities and dreams are confounded by desires.
At the heart of the novel is an affecting love affair between the Sultan’s favored wife, Jamila, and the beautiful Halina, a later addition to the harem. The novel charts the rise of Saladin as Sultan of Egypt and Syria and follows him as he prepares, in alliance with his Jewish and Christian subjects, to take Jerusalem back from the Crusaders. This is a medieval story, but much of it will be uncannily familiar to those who follow events in contemporary Cairo, Damascus, and Baghdad. Betrayed hopes, disillusioned soldiers and unrealistic alliances form the backdrop to The Book of Saladin.
A view of Islamic civilization that runs counter to that provided by 19th-century Western Orientalists and 20th-century Islamic fundamentalists. The novels cover a vast period, beginning with the conquest of the Iberian peninsula in the 8th century, via the liberation of Jerusalem by the armies of Saladin in the 12th century, to the rise and decline of the Ottoman Empire.
Set in 12th-century Cairo, Damascus and Jerusalem, this is the fictional memoir of Saladin, the Kurdish liberator of Jerusalem. It is the second in a series of historical novels depicting the confrontation between Islamic and Christian civilisations.
Tariq Ali's second novel in The Islam Quintet is a rich and teeming chronicle set in twelfth-century Cairo, Damascus and Jerusalem.
Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics—including Pirates of the Caribbean, Bush in Babylon, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and The Obama Syndrome—as well as five novels in his Islam Quintet series and scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of the New Left Review and lives in London.