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From his chlidhood in Fez, having fled the Christian Inquisition, through his many journeys to the East as an itinerant merhcant, Hasans story is a quixotic catalogue of pirates, slave girls and princesses, encompassing the complexities of a world in a state of religious flux. Hasan too is touched by the instability of the era, performing his hadj to Mecca, then converting to Christianity, only to relapse back to the Muslim faith later in life. In re-creating his extraordinary experiences, Amin Maalouf sketches an irrisistible portrait of the Mediterranea world as it was nearly five centuries ago - the fall of Granada, the Ottoman conquest of Egypt, Renaissance Rome under the Medicis: all contribute to a background of spectacular colour, matched only by the picaresque adventures of Hasan's life.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780349106007
ISBN-10: 0349106002
Format: Paperback
(194mm x 127mm x 25mm)
Pages: 368
Imprint: Abacus
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 22-Sep-1994
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions


UK Kirkus Review » 'Never hesitate to go far away, beyond all seas, all frontiers, all countries, all beliefs.' Leo the African's advice to his son reflects his own spiritual and physical peregrinations as an itinerant merchant in the Mediterranean five centuries ago. His story is based on the real character of Hasan al-Wazzan, 16th-century traveller and writer, whose life inspired Amin Maalouf (winner of the 1993 Prix Goncourt with The Rock of Tanios) to create this remarkable work of imagination. We follow Leo's picaresque adventures during his journeys in the Arab world, from 'the sack of Rome after the chastisement of Cairo, the fire of Timbuktu after the fall of Granada', to the approach of Carthage on the final page. A romantic, unique evocation of an exotic life. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Amin Maalouf

Amin Maalouf is a Lebanese journalist and writer. He was formerly director of the weekly international edition of the leading Meirut daily an-Nahar, and editor in chief of Jeune Afrique. He now lives in Paris with his wife and three children.

Books By Author Amin Maalouf

Disordered World by Amin Maalouf

Disordered World

Paperback, August 2012
In the Name of Identity by Amin Maalouf

In the Name of Identity

Paperback / softback, March 2012
Origins by Amin Maalouf


Paperback / softback, June 2009
Balthasar's Odyssey by Amin Maalouf

Balthasar's Odyssey

Paperback, September 2003