m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

The Longing for al-Andalus

I don’t usually write reviews, but somehow I’ve fallen 700 posts behind reading the aggregator and rather than try to catch up enough to reblog something I’ll just mention the last book I read: The Lions of Al-Rassan. There’s quite a bit of information about it at Guy Gavriel Kay’s website, but perhaps Wikipedia sums it up best:

It is set in a peninsula of the same world in which The Sarantine Mosaic and The Last Light of the Sun are set, and is based upon Moorish Spain. The novel concentrates on the relationships between the three peoples: the Kindath (based on the Jews), the Asharites (based on the Muslims), and the Jaddites (based on the Christians). (The actual religions of the Kindath, Asharites, and Jaddites, as described in the novel, bear no relation to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.)

The three protagonists in the novel are from each of these three races and religions: Jehane bet Ishak, a Kindath physician in Fezana; Rodrigo Belmonte, a Jaddite captain of a company of cavalry (based on El Cid); and Ammar ibn Khairan, an Asharite poet, mercenary, and advisor to King Almalik of Cartada (loosely based on ibn Ammar).

None of the links above, though, seem to capture the heart of the story: the longing of the characters—even some of the pseudo-Christians—to hold on to the convivencia that the Reconquista is already destroying.

The book was a very apt gift from a friend.