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January 3, 2014


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A Novel
The Islam Quintet
Book 1 of 5
Tariq Ali 

A Novel of the deep roots of the clash between Islam and the West.

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(from Open Road Media)

The savagery of the Reconquest tore apart the world of the Banu Hudayl family. For the doomed Muslims of late-fifteenth-century Spain, the approaching forces of Christendom bring not peace but the sword. Capturing the brutality of a war both military and cultural—and the price paid by the innocent—Tariq Ali opens his Islam Quintet with a harrowing and profound historical fiction.

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What do you do when you have a huge decision to make, when the decision is convert to Christianity or die?    A Muslim family, Banu Hudayl, are very proud of their lineage and the long told ancient stories told.  The stories held wisdom.  Secret relationships that ended has split the family in several ways. Extreme danger lurks. It's now 15th Century Spain.

As the book begins, there is an enormous burning of religious, artistic and scientific books.  The books are heresy according to the Ximenes de Cisneros.  These books  were worth a fortune, not only monetary but the value in the knowledge they held.

The Muslim population would convert, or at least that was the Church's policy. The Church felt reason would convince the Muslims.  Ximenes feels the only way is force and the ultimatum of life or death. He thought this would get rid of the residents that were impure. He is set to see that  the end is completed.
Granada has been defeated and the town where the Bau Hudayl family lives may fall next.

The book is about the Christian threat to the Muslims. But that is not all.  The author described in much detail of the wonderful Arab meals, the lovely artifacts and tapestries in the palaces and homes. He described the clothing that would have been worn by the Arab family.  He also gave some famous quotes of Arab writers and scholars.  To think that a Muslim community and the families that lived there would live daily with the thought of dying.  Why?  Because they believed differently.?  Because they didn't want to lose their heritage? Was the rise of Christianity that powerful?  Isn't there room in this vast world to have more than one belief?  == without being fearful of death.?
This family possessed a sense of humor,  pride in their heritage that makes the sadness of the story a little less sad.  They were good people.  They just didn't want to become Christians?  They were being placed in a position where the choice really wasn't a choice.  Convert or die.  That's not much of a choice.  Christianity may have been powerful but so were the beliefs of the Muslims. I found this book to be an eye opener.  I would recommend it to everyone.  It is a historical fiction that may not be so fictional.
This brings us back to the title:
As one of the female characters said as she dreamed of the days of old, 

"Remember the shadows of the pomegranate tree during the full moon?  And  it was said, "If the moon is with us, what need do we have for the stars?" 

I would give this book 4 STARS.

I was given a complimentary e-copy of SHADOWS OF THE POMEGRANATE TREE by Tariq Ali from Netgalley on behalf of Open Road Integrated Media for my honest review. 

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(from Goodreads)
Tariq AliTariq 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 of a State (1991) , Pirates Of The Caribbean: Axis Of Hope (2006), Conversations with Edward Said (2005), Bush in Babylon (2003), and Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (2002), A Banker for All Seasons (2007), Street Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties; the novels of the Islam Quintet and the recently published The Duel.   He is the co-author of On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Conversation.  He is an editor of the New Left Review.  He lives in London.
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The Islam Quintet
 Books 2-5

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Kindle Edition
955 KB
288 pages
Open Road Media
October 25, 2013

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1 comment:

Blodeuedd said...

If you are the Gayle Pace who posted in my Emily Greenwood contest please get back to me with your address as you won