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saladinName: The Book of Saladin

Author:  Tariq Ali

Genre : Fiction/Historical Fiction

Series: Islam Quintet #2

Pages :  367 pages

Publication Year: November 17th 1999 

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 1 stars (out of 5)

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When I picked up this book for reading , I was thinking about reading the biography of one of the greatest hero of Islam  – Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb better known in the Western world as Saladin but biography of greatest hero in fictional form by Tariq Ali is shallow, test less and base. Even Wikipedia gives better biography of Saladin than this book. Why, you ask? here is why.

I am really, really disgusted by the numerous allusions to homosexuality, sodomy, prostitution described in this novel. This not the disgusting part, the disgusting part is suggestion that those closest to Saladin including imams and advisers were involved in these heinous acts.

Agreed that these things occur in this world, but when you are writing a biography of great military leader and liberator of Jerusalem and using such a shameful language and behavior is really disgusting, shallow, test less and base.

The way Tariq Ali describes the love life of Saladin is really shameful, as I was reading I started to feel the Tariq Ali really doesn’t know much about who Saladin was and even if he knew, I think he hates him so much that he thought of writing a book to just show his hatred towards him. Don’t know what exactly was going through his mind while writing this book.

Most of the book is filled with sub plots or sub stories and these stories doesn’t add much to Saladin’s biography apart from filling the pages and making book more dense.

I honestly won’t recommend this book to any one. I won’t be reading any other books by Tariq Ali.

I honestly believe that this Wikipedia entry on Saladin is better than this book.

Excerpt from book:

The Book of Saladin” is the fictional memoir of Saladin, the Kurdish liberator of Jerusalem, as dictated to a Jewish scribe, Ibn Yakub. Saladin grants Ibn Yakub permission to talk to his wife and retainers so that he might present a full portrait in the Sultan’s memoirs. A series of interconnected stories follows, tales brimming over with warmth, earthy humor and passions in which ideals clash with realities and dreams are confounded by desires. 


At the heart of the novel is an affecting love affair between the Sultan’s favored wife, Jamila, and the beautiful Halina, a later addition to the harem. The novel charts the rise of Saladin as Sultan of Egypt and Syria and follows him as he prepares, in alliance with his Jewish and Christian subjects, to take Jerusalem back from the Crusaders. This is a medieval story, but much of it will be uncannily familiar to those who follow events in contemporary Cairo, Damascus, and Baghdad. Betrayed hopes, disillusioned soldiers and unrealistic alliances form the backdrop to “The Book of Saladin

Being Sufi

Here is a great explanation by Imam Ali (R.A) and Imam Jafar (R.A) on evidence of Creator (God):

Screenshot_2014-04-24-22-29-39

Screenshot_2014-04-24-22-33-00

Note: These strips are taken from 40 Sufi Comics by Mohammed Ali Vakil.

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dancewithdragonsName: A Dance with Dragons

Author:  George R. R. Martin

Genre : Fantasy

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (Book #5)

Pages : 1040 pages

Publication Year: 2011 

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

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Words Are Wind says R R Martin in A Dance With Dragons, Indeed Words are Wind but can Wind will carry storm with it in next book ‘The Winds of Winter’? we have to wait and see and this wait may go on for years and years until Martin wakes up from his hibernation mode.

Reviewing the epic fantasies are always a difficult task and reviewing A Song of Ice and Fire is much more difficult, because this series involves many different POV characters with different plot lines which are spread across the  Westeros and Essos.

Like in previous book A Feast Of Crows, A Dance with Dragons also suffers from problem of not lot happening in story. Both A Feast Of Crows, A Dance with Dragons builds up a lot and resolve nothing. On the other hand the book is very dense and pacing in pretty slow and frustrating, especially when characters are introduced who doesn’t add much to the story except making book more dense.

In previous books, lots of things happened specially in A Storm Of Swords and few in A Feast Of Crows and as a fan I was expecting lot more will happen in Dance but again Martin disappointed us as in last book. Though things happen in this book but not in a pace you would have expected. This book builds up to a couple of battles but those battles are not included in Dance and Martin told they will be part of ‘The Winds of Winter’.

Arya Stark who lost her eyes in previous book is now being trained as blind girl and using her other senses to overcome her enemies.

Tyrion Lannister after killing his father flees kings landing and is en-route to Meereen to meet Dragon Queen but ends up in other lands, dependent on others for safety and shelter.

Bran Stark is en-route to wall to meet mysterious three eyed crow but ends up face to face with wargs and discovers new powers of his skinchanging ability.

While on the Wall – new Night Watch commander Jon Snow is confronted with incoming horde of wildlings who seek shelter at wall, as well as king Stannis and his wife and red priestess Melisandre. While Jon Snow faces new enemies not only outside but inside the Wall, he is determined to do what he thinks is right to save Seven Kingdoms from Others because ‘Winter is Coming’.

Daenarys having conquered city Meereen now faces new challenges in-terms of controlling/taming  her growing dragons and gorilla war from slave lords of Meereen. Meanwhile a new dragon is rising to claim the Iron Throne.

Really it’s hard to sum up A Dance with Dragons without giving away far too much of story or without going into countless subplots. This book moves pretty slow and nothing much happens compared to first three books but it might be the ‘silence before the storm’. Let’s see whether ‘Winds will carry storm along with them’ in ‘The Winds of Winter’.

Will I recommend this book to other – off-course I will. Will I read new book in installment? Off-course, I will because once you get on Westeros and Essos train it’s very difficult to get down until you reach your destination.

Excerpt from book:

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.


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