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The Book of Saladin (Islam Quintet #2)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,211 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
The Book of Saladin is the fictional memoir of Saladin, the Kurdish liberator of Jerusalem, as dictated to a Jewish scribe, Ibn Yakub. Saladin grants Ibn Yakub permission to talk to his wife and retainers so that he might present a full portrait in the Sultan's memoirs. A series of interconnected stories follows, tales brimming over with warmth, earthy humor and passions i ...more
Paperback, 367 pages
Published November 17th 1999 by Verso (first published 1998)
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Amina
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
Do not recommend. I'm not sure exactly what this was supposed to be (about), but it reads like some sort of light porn for medieval teenage boys. The history and the life of one of the most important leaders in the Islam is obviously amazing, but the fact that you can't turn a page without someone having some kind of perverted sex (including repeated references to bestiality) was just too much of a distraction for me. Plus, some 97% of characters are gay or bi, which I thought was a bit excessiv ...more
Saleh Alasfour
Jun 27, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
خيب ظني الكاتب بأول كتاب اقرأه له من خماسية الإسلام، حيث اسهب الكاتب في خياله الشاذ الذي جعل من شخوص حقبة الرواية لا يفكرون إلا بذكورهم، فالناصر صلاح دين الأيوبي رمز للأمة الإسلامية وفيه نعتز وهو بلا شك من المسلمات.
إلى صفحة 300 توقفت ولن أكمل الشذوذ الذي اتوقع وصوله لذروته في ختامها.

صلاح الدين الأيوبي من كان الفرنجة يفزعون أبناءهم بذكر لأجل أن يناموا
صلاح الدين من حرر القدس واعاد الصلاة للأقصى
من انهى الدولة الفاطمية او العبيدية

هل يستحق أن يتناول شخصيته ساذج كهذا؟
Sayed Khadri
Feb 17, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When I picked up this book for reading , I was thinking about reading the biography of one of the greatest hero of Islam - Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb better known in the Western world as Saladin but biography of greatest hero in fictional form by Tariq Ali is shallow, test less and base. Even Wikipedia gives better biography of Saladin than this book. Why, you ask? here is why.

I am really, really disgusted by the numerous allusions to homosexuality, sodomy, prostitution described in this novel
...more
Ali
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Tariq Ali's "The Book of Saladin" is a rich and teeming chronicle set in the twelfth-century Cairo, Damascus and Jerusalem. The Book of Saladin is a fictional memoir of Saladin, the Kurdish liberator he Muslim leader during the Crusades, was one of the best known figures of the Middle Ages. The West accepted him as a worthy opponent; Islam was indebted to him for the recovery of Jerusalem. Ali brilliantly weaves a fiction tale around the historical figure Saladin.
A series of interconnected stori
...more
Jonfaith
Aug 15, 2011 rated it liked it
I certainly expected more from this when I encountered it at Twice Told back in 2004. It was by the numbers historical fiction with the standard authorial flourishes but little else. Syncretism is the order of the day. This is a reworking by Ali to meet some kinder, gentler view of the controversial figure form the Crusades: as if, there were any saintly personages in the record of such. I eventually gave this and a few other unread novels by Ali to my friend Ed.
Peregrino
Nov 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
El título del libro explica perfectamente su contenido. Una novela sobre la vida de Saladino. Cincuenta y cinco años de uno de los más poderosos sultanes de oriente resumidos en historias marginales de su vida. El autor nos novela la vida diaria de Saladino, intercalando algunos pasajes en los que hace reflexionar a los personajes, fundamentalmente a los femeninos (es decir, los de auténtica ficción).

A través de la vida del judio Ibn Yakub, que se convierte en el escriba de la vida de Saladino
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Katie
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These reviews are super predictable!

BAD reviews: devout Muslims, homophobes, those in total denial about the existence of homosexuality in Muslim societies, those naive enough to believe that Muslim leaders, religious and secular, didn't commit any "sins"

GOOD reviews (or at least average): secularists, people who don't confuse historical fiction with history or biography, people who understand that one's public and private lives can be two different things.

Sometimes Goodreads makes me so depre
...more
Yazeed AlMogren
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
في هذه الرواية يعيد طارق علي كتابة تاريخ شخصية صلاح الدين بأسلوبه الروائي الخاص، الرواية احتوت بالطبع على أحداث من خيال الكاتب والعديد من القصص الجنسية التي لا أعلم هل اضافتها كانت تشويق للقارئ أم أن هذا هو أسلوب الكاتب وهو السبب الذي أعتقده، لاحظت قبل قراءتي للرواية بأن العديد من القُراء مستاء من الأحداث الخيالية التي أضيفت للكتاب ولا أعتقد أن هذا الإستياء منطقي لأن الكاتب أراد الكتابة عن شخصية صلاح الدين بأسلوب روائي ولم يرغب بأن يكون كتابه كبحث تاريخي بسبب وجود العديد من كتب التاريخ التي تحدث ...more
Sadiq sagheer
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it
"The Book of Saladin" is the second book in Islamic quintet by Tariq Ali. It is the chronicle of Islamic warrior Salah Ud Din Ayubi or Saladin for western people, set in the twelfth-century Cairo, Damascus and Jerusalem. The Book of Saladin is a fictional memoir of Saladin, the Kurdish liberator, the Muslim leader during the Crusades, was one of the best known figures of the Middle Ages. The West accepted him as a worthy opponent; Islam was indebted to him for the recovery of Jerusalem. though ...more
Bryn Hammond
I'll have to think about this. Review to follow.
B.J. Sadiq
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the most brilliant historical novels I have ever laid my hands on. A masterpiece!
Minci (Ayurveda) Ahmetovic
Džepovi u našem pamćenju su zaista nevjerovatni. Stvari, davno zaboravljene, skrivene po ćoškovima, iznenada izbijaju na svjetlo dana. I sada, sve to vidim, tako jasno, kao da vrijeme nije ni proticalo.

Sada imamo jednog boga, pa se opet - iz nužde - moramo i oko njega boriti. I sve se svelo na rat oko tumačenja.

Okruženi smo dušmanima. Nemamo vremena da mislimo ni na šta drugo sem kako da preživimo - i tek u miru čovjek sebi može dopustiti da se osami sa svojim mislima.

Sudbina i istorija su se u
...more
Sharon Coyle
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
The narrator's voice adds a lot to the novel; he is an outsider and so his perspective, both neutral and "fresh" helps the reader follow the complicated historical chain of events.
reabdimation
Mar 29, 2008 rated it liked it
I truly admire Shalahuddin. He is one of my hero..

(I prefer using Shalahuddin instead of saladin, because the meaning of 'shalah' and 'Ad-Diin' behind his name)

As far as i know, A mujahid means sumone who totally gave his life in a way of Jihad. Being Mujahid means to obey every commands of Allah. Allah gave victory to us because of our faith, and our obedience to Allah. early generation of Moslems was won on Battle of Badr, even they number are less than kuffars, because of their faith and thei
...more
Indah Threez Lestari
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indonesian
663rd - 2011

Novel ini berupa narasi seorang juru tulis (fiktif) dari Sultan Saladin, yang mendapat tugas untuk menuliskan kisah hidup sang Sultan. Kisahnya dimulai beberapa tahun sebelum pertempuran Hattin dan perebutan Yerusalem, dan diakhiri dengan surat-surat sang juru tulis kepada sahabatnya mengenai serpihan peristiwa seputar Perang Salib III dan wafatnya sang Sultan.

Sebelum membaca buku ini aku sudah khatam serial medan laga Osprey mengenai Perang Hattin dan Perang Salib I s/d III terbitan
...more
Mohamed Gomaa
بداية فالرواية جيدة ولها نية حسنة في محاولة إيضاح السلام الذي ينشده المسلمون في عالمهم فكاتب السلطان يهودي وطبيبه يهودي والمسيحيون منتشرون في الإطار ، كما أن الرواية مبذول مجهود في الاطلاع على أحداثها ومصادرها العربية والغربية ، هذا مشهود لا شك فيه.
أما الشخوص فلقد صدمني طارق علي في (صلاح الدين) بتلك التشنجات الجنسية التي غلبت عليه في كتابة الرواية فلم ينجُ من شخوصها أحد منها ، قد يكون مطلوبا عند الروائيين والقراء أن تحفل الرواية بشيء من هذا ولكن ليس بهذا الإسراف ، وقد يملك الروائي حق التصرف في أ
...more
Imraan
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
I as overwhelmingly disgusted by the numerous allusions to homosexuality, paedophilia, sodomy, and prostitution described in this novel, especially of the suggestion that those closest to Saladin, including imams and advisers were involved with such heinous acts. I do not deny that these things occur in the Muslim world, but writing about such a great military leader and of those closest to him using such shameful behaviour is shallow, tasteless, and base.

As the sequel to Tariq Ali's first novel
...more
Aletha Tavares
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
The more I read about the Islam portrayed in this book and the lifestyle of that period - the more I realise we have regressed rather than progressed culturally at least. The scribe's life and the relationship with his ruler is really unique. To maintain objectivity and understand the events around you and narrate and note the decisions certainly was tough for any scribe. The richness of culture, thought, of a period long ago is brought alive by Tariq Ali, and one can but sit and visualize what ...more
Sherry Leffert
Dec 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
After seeing “Saladin’s castle” on a recent trip on the way from Eilat to Cairo, I was eager to read the Book of Saladin, a fictional memoir about the life of Saladin, the Kurdish liberator of Jerusalem from the crusaders. A fictionalized Jewish scribe, Ibn Yakub writes the memoir and everything is seen through his narrative. Each character has a tale. The book is rich in sexual passion of every variety. Even Ibn Maimon, known in the Jewish tradition as Maimonides has an affair with Ibn Yakub’s ...more
Iman Hasanbegovic
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book, and it kept me interested from the beginning to the end, although I already knew the outcome. I liked how the whole story is narrated through little stories, which all differ, and sometimes are completely off-topic.
Also, I noticed it is written on a pattern similar to Shades of the Pomegranate Tree. A personal story is incorporated into a much greater one. Ali also uses same motives - love (both hetero- and homosexual), war and peace, conquest, death, betrayal, the r
...more
Yehia Hassan
Aug 20, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
الشخصية التي صورها الكاتب لصلاح الدين وعصره تختلف عما تتحدث عنه المراجع التاريخية، لقد سقط الكاتب في هوجة جنسية لم يخرج منها، ولعلها ترضي قارءه في الغرب، لكنها غير مقبولة، على ألقل مني كقارئ مهتم بالأدب والتاريخ معا
Josina Alqassas
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting story and period in history. This one is based on real figures in history but not too many in depth female characters (which the author freely admits is because he had nothing to go on when making them up).
Tariq Mahmood
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Most authentic narrative of Saladin the greats life. Must read.
Kifah Maseeh
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
a lot of hate for the book by other reviewers but this book provides us all with valuable lessons of leadership, dynasty politics and most importantly of the great Islamic empire. From the exemplary caliphs of the Fatimids and the Abbassids to the knights and rulers of the franj. Of course, it will not be complete without shedding some light on the erotic nature of people of their time, a contrasting picture of how the world sees Islam during the current period. If this is an accurate depiction ...more
Lesley Schultz
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Enjoyable And Engaging Story!

If you're looking for a history or for lots of facts (or factoids) to dazzle friends or acquaintances, keep looking. If you are seeking some truth about Salah al-Din, concealed under a veil of fiction and from which you will need to decide for yourself where the real truth and meaning lies, you may enjoy this book. The cloak is the salacious and occasionally crude references to harem goings-on and the appetites of certain court members, and what I suppose would
...more
Mohsin Malik
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Warning —->Do not read this book if you intend reading history. The book is a piece of fiction occasionally sprinkled with historic events. Though excellent writing style, the author has very amicably superimposed fiction over history. Written in style of “A Thousand Nights”, the book will keep you captivated till the end for sure. Hats off to the writer. I have added the name to my favourite authors list.


P.S
The author was not serious whenever he mentioned the carnal peculiarities of the peo
...more
Ivan
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The main point of the book is a depiction of a honorable figure of Saladin within 12 c. middle eastern environment, as well as critics of crusades and their impact onto the Near East.
There is a lot of support towards LGBT communities in this book. Perhaps, this is purely used by the author's to show his western tolerant attitude, and hence drag more western readers in order to turn their attention to the main problems expressed in the book.
Marie
Sep 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
The book of Saladin took me so long to finish. I was unmoved by the story and the characters seemed flat. They undergo excruciating emotional pain, but only 4 pages is devoted to their recovery and it is never mentioned again. I loved the first Islam quintet, The Shadow of the Pomegranate Tree, so I will try to read a third one. This one, however, was largely disappointing.
Nour
Jan 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stopped
I was expecting a historical biography/ novel about a great successful warrior. I didn't half expect to read a pornographic story with weird fantasies forcefully associated with such an influential character! So disappointed!
Khawla
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كتاب ممتع ... نافذة اخرى للاطلال على جانب من جوانب حياة صلاح الدين ومن حوله من شخصيات تاريخية ...
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Tariq Ali (Punjabi, Urdu: طارق علی) (born 21 October 1943) is a British-Pakistani historian, novelist, filmmaker, political campaigner, and commentator. He is a member of the editorial committee of the New Left Review and Sin Permiso, and regularly contributes to The Guardian, CounterPunch, and the London Review of Books.

He is the author of several books, including Can Pakistan Survive? The Death
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More about Tariq Ali

Other Books in the Series

Islam Quintet (5 books)
  • Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree
  • The Stone Woman (Islam Quintet, #3)
  • A Sultan in Palermo (Islam Quintet, #4)
  • Night of the Golden Butterfly (Islam Quintet, #5)
“I understand you only too well, but Rachel’s needs are no less important than your desire to be part of history. Find a balance. Happiness is like good health. You only miss it when it disappears.” 2 likes
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