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This historical romantic vel is set at the time of Saladin, the great religious reformer, mythical leader and unifier of an Islamic world in disarray by political and social contradictions at the beginning of the twelfth century. Princess Sittalmulk, The Lady of the Realm is the beautiful and strong-willed sister to the weak Fatimid Caliph al-'Adid in Cairo. She has many suitors: Saladin has been persuaded that his political ambitions would be enhanced by a union with the caliph's sister. Such is also the case for the ruthless and ambitious Hasan who claims Fatimid ancestry and wants to become caliph. But the princess falls passionately in love with 'Imadin, a courageous commoner and member of Saladin's inner circle, after he saves her life and hor. Hasan a conspirator with few scruples arranges to have the princess abducted and uses the Assassins, a religious sect, to threaten and do away with Saladin. One morning Saladin wakes up with a dagger firmly planted above his head with a threatening letter signed by the old man of the mountains the Leader of the famous Assassins ready to sacrifice their lives in the service of their cause. But 'Imadin, is determined to come to his master's rescue by personally confronting the Assassins while his loyalty to Saladin raises insurmountable conflicts within himself on how to respond to the princess's advances... The stage is thus set for the contest for the princess's heart interlaced with the battle for the caliphate to succeed al-'Adid. Who will prevail and how? The fast paced action, with lots of twists and turns, is full of suspense that keeps us guessing to the very end....
Jurji Zaidan, a prolific writer, was one of the leaders of the Arab Renaissance of the early twentieth century. The twenty two historical novels he wrote are as entertaining as they are educational. Their stories are set within historical events that span a period from pre-Islamic times to the Ottoman period. As popular in the Arabic-speaking world as the novels of Walter Scott or Alexandre Dumas are in the western world, there have been some one hundred translations of these novels into more than ten languages. This translation follows the translation into English and recent publication of the first of Zaidan's historical novels, The Conquest of Andalusia.