Rafik Schami's opulent novel about the city of his childhood, a love endangered by persecution and murder, the political situation in the Middle East, Christians and Arabs: nine hundred pages of gripping entertainment.
A dead man hangs from the portal of St Paul's Chapel in Damascus. He was a Muslim officer – and he was murdered. But when Detective Barudi sets out to interrogate the man's mysterious widow, the Secret Service takes the case away from him. Barudi continues to investigate secretly and discovers the murderer's motive: it is a blood feud between the Mushtak and the Shahin clans, reaching back to the beginnings of the 20th century. And, linked to it, a love story that can have no happy ending, for reconciliation has no place within the old tribal structures.
Rafik Schami's dazzling new novel spans a century of Syrian history in which politics and religions continue to torment an entire people. With relentless detail, he charts the escalating cycle of hatred and violence and the acute danger to those unwilling to subscribe to the laws of kinship. Simultaneously , his poetic stories from three generations tell of the courage of lovers who risk death sooner than deny their passions.
Rafik Schami has written a novel of astonishing force that confronts the dark spots in his country's history, but is also a heartfelt tribute to his hometown Damascus and a great and moving hymn to the power of love.