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A Sultan in Palermo: A Novel par [Ali, Tariq]
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“A marvelously paced and boisterously told novel of intrigue, love, insurrection and manipulation.”—The Guardian

From the Hardcover edition.

Présentation de l'éditeur

Greed and strife simmer in a riven land held together by an ailing king
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.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1251 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 246 pages
  • Editeur : Open Road Media (15 octobre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00FEZ23ZQ
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x8ce92108) étoiles sur 5 15 commentaires
16 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8cba2dec) étoiles sur 5 Islam Quintet 10 octobre 2005
Par Nevin Deniz Eksioglu - Publié sur
Format: Relié
A sultan in palermo was the perfect final book to a wonderfully written series by tariq ali. i thoroughly enjoyed the whole group and was swept along with the main characters in all four of the books. the story of muhammad al-idrisi was supberly written, full of statesmanship, scholarship, and love. i highly recommend the whole series to anyone interested in the history of islam and of europe's encounters with muslims in the past. together these four books are a truly great addition to anyone's person library.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8cba2fd8) étoiles sur 5 Read it last. 12 septembre 2005
Par J. Kames - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Having completed all the novel of the Tariq Ali's Islam Quintet, I would suggest that anyone starting this series not begin with "A Sultan in Palermo". While I enjoy and appreciate the historical and cultural backgrounds in Ali's novels, this book seemed to become somewhat preoccupied with the romantic and erotic interests of the protagonist Idrisi, to the extent that it becomes an annoying distraction to the historical plot. After Chapter Twelve, I began to find this book somewhat difficult to pick up again. No such problem with the earlier three works.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d049960) étoiles sur 5 A novel unbecoming of "The Islam Quintet" 17 août 2005
Par M. A. ZAIDI - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Taris Ali's quintet series is a telling response to anyone accusing muslims as having no culture and civilization. The series is a sincere attempt by Tariq to convey the magnitude of the contribution made by muslims in the past 1400 years; which has so easily been forgotten. It was the insightful writings of muslim scholars that inspired Europe to greater heights and helped it transgress towards the Renaissance.

Sultan in Palermo revisits the Middle Ages, this time in Sicily, an island conquered by the Aghlabids in the 10th century then reconqured by the Normans in 1092. It takes as its main characters two major historical figures, Sultan Rujeri of Siqillya - or, as he is otherwise known, King Roger II of Sicily, and his protégé, Muhammad al-Idrisi, a cartographer. The book is set at a time where the sultan is at the end of his life and is maneuvering through politics insecuring the throne for his future generations. In a cavalier compromise the sultan had accepted the demands of the barons to persecute General Phillip (sympathetic to the muslims) on trumped up treason. The equilibrium on the muslim-christian nexus gets shifted. A peaceful society so far; is embroiled in tension and is gripped with the anxiety of persecution. In this atmosphere al-Idrisi seems torn between his affiliation with the king and his people.

I felt that "The Sultan of Palermo" failed to meet the penetrating and encompassing story of the earlier three novels. The disturbing fact is that in the perverse environment; where destiny is at the cross roads. Al-Idrisi was expected to be sagacious; exhibiting maturity; intellect and in-tune with his people. Instead he is a disdainful aphrodisiac enamored with the art of love than politics. On the eve of the execution of General Phillip; his gravest concern is whether to spend the night with his wife or his sister in law. There are more bedroom heroics than courtroom guile.
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par MARIAM - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This is a review by Kamila Shamsie in THE GUARDIAN:

In A Sultan in Palermo, the fourth novel in Tariq Ali's Islam quintet, the 12th-century geographer al-Idrisi thinks back on his first encounter with the works of the Greek al-Homa (Homer). Al-Idrisi had been told by his father of the 12 calligraphers who transcribed Arabic translations of al-Homa's poetry, working under conditions of such secrecy that if they were even to reveal the nature of their work, "the executioner's scimitar, in a lightning flash, would detach head from body". But one of the calligraphers, undaunted, copied out parts of both al-Homa's poems and sent them to his family in Damascus, along with the information that the complete manuscripts were in secret compartments in the library of Palermo. Generations later, al-Idrisi finds himself in the library at Palermo and, of course, discovers the secret compartment.

This story echoes a tale from Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree, the first novel of the quintet, which tells of the soldiers in Granada who are ordered by the archbishop to take all the manuscripts from the library and burn them, so that Moorish culture itself may be incinerated. Some of the soldiers deliberately drop manuscripts on the street, where they are gathered up by the Moors and carried to safety.

It is very much in the spirit of the calligrapher and the soldiers - who ensure that certain forms of knowledge survive the worst demands of the age - that Tariq Ali has written his Islam quintet. Prompted to start it by hearing a comment during the Gulf war that Muslims have no culture, he has gone back through different periods of Islamic history to show times when learning and culture were synonymous with Islam - and appreciated as such by the most enlightened Christians.

Among the most enlightened of these Christians is Sultan Rujeri of Siqillya - or, as he is otherwise known, King Roger II of Sicily. He is the eponymous Sultan in Palermo, and at the start of the novel, in 1153, seems likely to be one of its heroes. Rujeri is al-Idrisi's patron and friend; together they discuss such matters as the wonder of al-Homa, Rujeri's disdain for the Crusades, the weakness of Arab statecraft, and the misfortune of Rujeri's Norman cousins who conquered England - "a land of perpetual winter in the Ocean of Darkness". But Rujeri is also a man at the end of his life, concerned about securing his throne for future generations - which cannot be done, he feels, without the backing of the barons and bishops who want proof of his loyalty to the cross rather than the crescent. The "sacrifice" Rujeri makes to preserve his throne creates a rift between him and al-Idrisi - though earlier their friendship managed to survive Rujeri's decision to take Mayya, the woman al-Idrisi loves, as a concubine.

The tale of Rujeri and al-Idrisi is only one strand in this marvellously paced and boisterously told novel of intrigue, love, insurrection and manipulation. There is also the tale of "the Trusted One", the broken-hearted ascetic who must find a way to transform the rhetoric of rebellion into action; the tale of al-Idrisi's children with their differing fortunes (and three different mothers); the tale of al-Idrisi on an enchanted isle, which may well be the island of the lotus-eaters which Odysseus visited with his crew; and, most compellingly, the tale of al-Idrisi and the two sisters he loves. It is this final tale alone which made me wish the novel wasn't quite so fast-paced: the sisters Mayya and Bilkas could well have done with more attention than they receive, particularly at the end.

Although events move quickly, there is plenty of space for reflection and asides. Whether the subject is heretical poetry, the disunity of the Arabs or the threat that laughter poses to those in power, these digressions only add to the richness of the novel's texture.

As with all the previous novels in the quintet, A Sultan in Palermo stands on its own, with a different location and time period. But the books do echo each other in various ways - and not only for the manner in which calligraphers and soldiers reflect each others' actions through the centuries. Al-Idrisi's reference to Gharnata (Granada) in 1153 inevitably creates a bridge to the Gharnata of 1499 which is the setting of Shadow of the Pomegranate Tree. Both novels are set at moments when Christian rulers choose violence over tolerance in their dealings with the Muslim subjects, resulting in failed and bloody Muslim rebellions. And both have a nostalgia for the time just before that moment, when tolerance was briefly the order of the day and culture and learning flourished.

It is worth noting that Ali chooses to set his "Islam" novel of 1153 in a Sicily ruled by a Christian Hauteville rather than in an Andalusia ruled by a Muslim al-Muwahiddin (Almohad). It is not Muslim military and political power that interests him so much as the co-mingling of religious cultures (Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Olympian) and all that was lost when the religions pulled violently apart from one another. For this, it is not only the Christian leaders who are to blame. Al-Idrisi recalls, with sadness, the Muslim "rebels with long beards belonging to sects that preached the virtues of purity and abstinence ... [who] burnt the books of learning, outlawed philosophical discourse, punished scholars and poets, thus beginning the process that would allow the enemy to enter through the pores of our weaknesses and destroy everything".

It should be clear by now that there is, of course, one other story - a story still being written - which A Sultan in Palermo calls to mind. The novel was written between August 2001 and August 2004; no need to state all of import that happened between those dates, or the significance of al-Idrisi's last thoughts in the novel: "He would go to Baghdad, the city that will always be ours. The city that will never fall. The city that will never fall."
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x8d017ef4) étoiles sur 5 scant sultan or the culture he nurtured, instead a venal soap opera 6 août 2013
Par eidelon 8 - Publié sur
Format: Broché
What a disappointment! After years of following research on the Norman influence in Sicily and southern Italy and the proto-renaissance resulting from their sponsorship of Islamic, Hebrew, and Christian scholarship, I looked forward to a characterization of Roger II of Sicily and of his marvelous cartographer. The cartographer, Al Idrisi, is a seminal character in the History of Science and he is still fabled in less globalized Islamic cultures today with superior scholarship, surpassed only by Avicenna. But alas, this book presents Idrisi as a modern fellow (oooh, maybe the author?)-a reluctant political eminence who is distracted by the intricate balance of having women (two sisters) clamoring for his attention. That situation is preceded by the burden of his first wife who is described, never encountered, as a total virago...when our hero would much rather be working with the righteous grassroots-activist men about seriously establishing a new order resisting the oppression of the 'Lombards', or Europeans in this context.

There are about 4 scenes with Roger, The Sultan in Palermo, who created the Kingdom of Sicily, and a couple with his successor William in which the former is a doddering puppet and the latter is a simpleton. There is little description of this cultural high point in the Mediterranean producing the translations and music and art and architecture that made Sicily a major monarchy of the era while England recovered from internecine war and France attempted to grow beyond the Ile de France. This kingdom remained a coveted gem for more than a hundred years-until the death of Roger's grandson Frederick, who is still referred to as 'Stupor Mundi', the wonder of the world. No, instead of getting to know the Sultan of Palermo and his wondrous complexities, we get a venal soap opera. Even if the author disdained Roger and his ilk, doesn't Al Idrisi deserve better? Also avoid "The Geographer's Library" another sad attempt to use Al Idrisi's legend to spark up a solipsistic fiction.
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