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William Owen Roberts
Publication Date: 
Thursday, November 27, 1997
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From the elegance and refinement of Cairo’s Madrasa Academy sets out Salah Ibn al Khatib, whose mission is to avenge his wronged family by killing the King of France. In a bizarre and exotic journey the luckless Salah encounters whores and rogues, popes and priests, bishops, kings and queens. As he penetrates the dark and Boschian heart of Europe something implacable and murderous accompanies him: pestilence.

In rural Eifionydd, on the very edge of civilisation, grinding poverty, hunger, superstition and the shackles of feudalism bind peasants, priests and even the Lady of the Manor. Their lives are all to simply a struggle for life itself. The arrival of Salah, now hopelessly adrift, brings the promise of dramatic change. But can they all survive to reap its benefits?

William Owen Roberts’ prize-winning novel has been compared to the writing of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Bocaccio and Voltaire. His vivid picaresque narrative is underlain by a searching enquiry into the medieval life. Translated from its Welsh version, Y Pla, it appears in paperback for the first time.

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