It is the nineteenth century and the kingdom of Persia is at a turning point. When a young King, Shah Naser, takes to the throne he inherits a medieval, enchanted world. But beyond the court, the greater forces of colonisation and industrialisation close in. The Shah's grand vizier sees only one solution - to open up to the outside world, and to bring Persia into modernity. But the Shah's mother fiercely opposes the vizier's reforms and sets about poisoning her son's mind against his advisor. With bloody battles, intrigue and extraordinary characters, The King brings a historical moment brilliantly to life. Reading as fairy tale and shedding light on a pivotal period in history, The King confirms Kader Abdolah as one of the world's most engaging storytellers.
- Paperback | 448 pages
- 134 x 212 x 40mm | 479.99g
- 16 Jan 2014
- Canongate Books Ltd
- Edinburgh, United Kingdom
The King is utterly fabulous in both senses of the word: a sly, witty, knowing fable, full of charm and humour. Deceptively simple in its storytelling, it reads like one of Angela Carter's fairy tales transposed into the nineteenth-century Qajar Persian court. Kader Abdolah is a masterful and completely addictive storyteller -- WILLIAM DALRYMPLE A strong and colourful story illuminating the complex forces that have shaped contemporary Iran * * Metro * * Glorious * * The Times * * Set in the last half of the 19th century, The King is a biography of brutality and ambition; all of its characters strive to shape their own lives as well as the destiny of their evolving nation * * New York Times * * Told in a simple yet gripping style based on the great epic history of early Persia, the 'Shahnameh' written by Firdawsi about a thousand years ago. It proves a very effective model for this dramatic tale of a later ruler and his heroic, if often brutal, battles. As in the 'Shahnameh', lyrical passages celebrating Persia break up the harsh history * * Independent * * Abdolah brings a crucial moment in 19th-century Persian history to vivid life * * Independent * * The King probes questions of power and authority through wry fable - Salman Rushdie's Shame meets Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall . . . the story is rich with subtle touches . . . in the grand tradition of Persian literary satire, the writing is playful, subversive, and compassionate . . . resplendent * * Financial Times * * Excellent . . . accessible and deceptively light * * Scotsman * * A modern epic * * Independent * * A very detailed and well-researched historical account * * Guardian * *
About Kader Abdolah
Kader Abdolah (a pen name created in memoriam to friends who died under persecution by the current Iranian regime) was born in Iran in 1954. While a student of physics in Tehran, he joined a secret leftist party that fought against the dictatorship of the shah and the subsequent dictatorship of the ayatollahs. Abdolah wrote for an illegal journal and clandestinely published two books in Iran. In 1988, he arrived in the Netherlands as a political refugee. Kader Abdolah is the author of several books, including the novels My Father's Notebook and The House of the Mosque. He has received several awards, including the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres decoration in 2008.