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An exploration of myth, passion and loyalty from the Lebanon's troubled past, The Rock of Tanios is another superbly rich and rewarding novel from the author of Samarkand and Leo the African. Expertly controlling his multi-faceted narrative with prose of great beauty and power, Maalouf delves into the history of an extraordinary life: that of Tanois, child of the mountains.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780349106625
ISBN-10: 0349106622
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 131mm x 19mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Abacus
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 7-Sep-1995
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Inspired by a true incident, this powerful story of the murder of a 19th-century Lebanese patriarch, of the cunning wiles of the Emir who brought the murderer to justice and of the passionate adventures of Tanios, the hero of the book, is a masterpiece of storytelling which won Maalouf the Prix Goncourt in 1993. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Lebanese journalist and author Maaloufs (Leo Africanus, 1988, etc.) Goncourt Prize - winning historical romance is lyrical and poetic. Set in the Lebanese village of Kfaryabda, the novel skips merrily from the present into the late 19th century as an aged townsman tells his nephew the story of Lamia and Tanios. Lamia, the wife of an official in the court of the local potentate, is so beautiful that her pulchritude has become proverbial in the region, and the Sheikh becomes determined to have her. He seduces her, and Lamia bears a child. Despite the secrecy and brevity of their tryst, rumors begin to circulate in the court and in the village that the child is the Sheikh's. Tanios, the child, grows up with the best that can be provided, including an education at a foreign mission school. It is a period when Lebanon is the center of a great political game: Egypt and the Ottoman Empire contend against each other; France and Britain jockey for position; Islam and Christianity jostle; rebellion against the hierarchical political structure is brewing; and intrigue abounds. When Tanios's legal father (Lamia's husband) kills the Patriarch, the Christian leader of the village and a rival in the Sheikh's court, he and Tanios are forced to flee. Beginning their flight in terror and remorse, the two fugitives soon become embroiled in the machinations tearing the country apart. Eventually it becomes clear that only they can put a halt to the troubles, and they emerge as unlikely mediators in the diplomatic wrangling. The book's title derives from an unusual rock formation, resembling a great stone chair, that dominates the village. Local legend has it that Tanios, who has taken on mythic status, sat on the chair and was never seen again. Magical and compelling, the novel is the work of a master stylist, rendered in a subtle and supple translation. (Kirkus Reviews)


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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 Beirut daily an-Nahar, and editor in chief of Jeune Afrique.

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