ISLAM QUINTET IV
A Sultan In Palermo
5.5 x 7.5 inches, 246pp. 2005
ISBN : 9788170462989
Rs 295.00 (PB)
The fourth novel in Tariq Ali’s Islam Quintet is set in medieval Palermo, a Muslim city rivaling Baghdad and Cordoba in size and splendour. The year is 1153. The Normans are ruling Siqqiliya, but Arab culture and language dominate the island and the court. Sultan Rujari (King Roger) surrounds himself with Muslim intellectuals, several concubines, and an administration presided over by gifted eunuchs. The bishops, expecting to be at the pinnacle of power, are angered by the decadence of the court. In this captivating novel, Tariq Ali charts the life and loves of the medieval cartographer Muhammed al-Idrisi. Torn between his close friendship with the Sultan and his friends who are leaving the island or plotting a resistance to Norman rule, Idrisi finds temporary solace in the harem; but, confronted by the common people of Noto and Catania, his conscience is troubled.A richly woven tapestry that, even before its completion, merits comparison with Naguib Mahfouz’s celebrated Cairo Trilogy.
A great work in progress.—Kirkus Reviews
Tariq Ali is a writer, critic and film-maker. He has written over a dozen books on world history and politics as well as scripts for both stage and screen. The first novel of his Islam Quartet, Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree, has been translated into several languages and was awarded the Archbishop San Clemente del Instituto Rosalia de Castro Prize for the best foreign language fiction published in Spain in 1994. The third, The Stone Woman was published by Verso in 2000.