Book Size: 8" x 5.25"

Pages: 248

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781623716646

Release date: Fall 2024



A novel of medieval Baghdad


$ 17.95

About this book

A tale of love and passion in medieval Baghdad.

It is spring of the year 830. Baghdad, the capital of a vast Islamic empire, is one of the world's glorious cities. There, a powerful, forward-thinking Sunni caliph champions reason, knowledge, and creativity against forces of ignorance and superstition. A hub of scientific, philosophical, and artistic discovery, the city is home to an Islam of free debate and philosophical inquiry. The Caliph's court has become a dazzling academy of poets, musicians, philosophers, and theologians, a picture of a vibrant, self confident, fun-loving society.

Yet, it bears the fateful seeds of future strife. For its leader's rule is austere and ruthless, as he quells discontent, division, and rebellion in the surrounding lands. Then the Caliph is afflicted by a mysterious illness.

Akin to madness, his condition worsens as physicians desperately search for a cure. Only Abu Mansour, Baghdad's most famous doctor, is able to diagnose the cause. The malady turns out to be the Caliph's passion for a humble, beautiful, young woman named Murjana (“Small Pearl“). It is an affliction that only one remedy can cure—marriage. But Murjana is from a Shia family, and it is discovered that her brother was executed for insurrection against the caliphate. Such a union could reopen wounds, posing many dangers.

The controversial marriage of Murjana and the Caliph captures Baghdad under its spell. A tribute to a treasured ancient city, the story of their night journey becomes an ode on the power of love to erase boundaries. At the same time, it reveals the power of passion and vengeance to erect dividing lines, and the futility of conflict that can destroy all sides.


About the author

Ghada Karmi is a doctor of medicine by training and a specialist in the history of medieval Islamic medicinea background that enabled her to research the period of the novel, using the original historical sources, and create the novel’s main characters, the caliph’s physician, and the medicine he practised. Karmi has held a number of academic posts in Middle East history and politics, most recently at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK. She has published six books to date, including two memoirs of life in Palestine.


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