Bookworm, writer, radio host—I blog about history, fiction, and publishing in the Internet Age. You can find the full blog on my website. This space is for books.
Although this book gets off to a slow start—and does not always ring psychologically true, hence the three stars—it is a much better read, once it gets going, than I thought it would be. The author has done her research, and the general outlines of the story are accurate. Jamil Eddin is compelling as a young man caught up in high-level geopolitics and used as a pawn by rulers who care less about his wants and needs than about scoring points against each other. That both rulers act as fathers who insist on their love for Jamil Eddin merely highlights the tragedy of his situation.
I'm not quite sure I buy the portrayal of Shamil (the hero's father), whose goals as portrayed in this story seem to conflict with his behavior in several important ways. But Lapierre has done a good job of balancing opposing ideologies and creating a complex, flawed, believable hero. It's worth skimming through the first 80 pages or so of back story and information dump to get to the beginning of Jamil Eddin's story.