Tariq Ali has been one of our national treasures for almost five decades: revolutionary, writer, broadcaster, film maker, polemicist--fighter in the street (the title of his vivid Sixties memoir)--and general all-round trouble-maker (in the nicest possible sense) he's been them all, and usually at the same time. Since 1990 Ali has also worked in fiction, firstly with Redemption
, and now with a planned quartet of historical novels, of which The Book of Saladin is the second. (The first was the award-winning, Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree).
Ali's passion for life, and his humour, are found all over this latest work which is set in the 12th century--with eerily prescient echoes of modern times. It shows us the conflict between Christian and Islamic civilisations set to a humorous, sometimes bawdy, sometimes brutal background where all of life is in flux.
As with his previous novel Ali shows the depth and breadth of his learning and humanity on every page. Like his central character Saladin, or Salah-al-Din (the Kurdish liberator of Jerusalem), Ali has been a fighter of many causes, a maker of alliances, who has made an impact on the world around him; unlike his hero Ali has never been a Sultan, nor a warrior, except a class one, of course. But between them--Ali and his warrior King-- readers can discover much of both history and contemporary life in the melting pot of world religion. --Robin Hunt
--This text refers to the
"The Book of Saladin is the second in a quartet of novels by Tariq Ali on the long encounter between Western Christendom and the world of Islam. Grippingly well told, brilliantly paced, remarkably convincing in its historical depiction of a fateful relationship, it is a narrative for our time, haunted by distant events and characters who are closer to us than we had dreamed." - Edward Said "Ali overturns demonising stereotypes of Salah-al-Din, portraying instead the 'barbarian' Western invaders. Whether depicting erotically charged harem intrigue or siege warfare, The Book of Saladin is an entertaining feat of revisionist storytelling." -- Simon Carnell, Sunday Times "Ali's new historical novel... is told in a manner which combines the incantatory storytelling of the great Middle Eastern anthologies with the solidarity of historical research." - Philip Hensher, Mail on Sunday "Fiercely lyrical. Weaving political intrigue, gay and straight love, betrayal, cross-dressing, rape, assassination and crimes of passion, Ali's tale ripples with implicit parallels to our age." -- Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Tariq Ali is a writer and film-maker. He has written over a dozen books on world history and politics and plays 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 Prize for the Best Foreign Language Fiction published in Spain in 1994. the third, The Stone Woman, was published by Verso in 2000.