An ailing king attempts to unify the Christian and Muslim worlds of medieval Sicily in this “marvelously paced and boisterously told novel of intrigue” (The Guardian).
Amid the chaos and misery of the Middle Ages, Sicily proved to be an island in more ways than one. Even after Christians reconquered the island, the citizens retained their Muslim culture. One ruler became a bridge between worlds, speaking Arabic fluently, maintaining a harem, and even taking on the dual titles of King Roger of Sicily and Sultan Rujari of Siqilliya. Aiding Rujari is the Muslim cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi. As the Sicilian leader descends into old age and the island is pulled toward European values, al-Idrisi is caught between his friendship with Rujari and the plots of resistance brewing among his fellow Muslims. Pride and friendship collide with greed and lust in Tariq Ali’s rich novel of medieval Sicily.