Leo the African (Leon l’Africain) by Amin Maalouf

This tantalizing book was Kutub’s selection for November 2006.

Based on the life story of the 15-16th-century geographer Hasan as-Wazzan, Amin Maalouf’s Leo the African (Leon l’Africain) documents in delicious prose the forgotten impact of Islamic history on Western Europe. Through this book one can literally see the erasing of the impact the Muslim world had on its Western counterpart…oh and it is also a delightful novel about obsessive love, ambition, revenge, princesses and slave girls, sultans and popes, pirates and imams.

Amin Maalouf was born in Beirut in 1949. He also wrote The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, which was the first book Kutub discussed. Leo the African was originally written in French under the title Leo Africanus.