In this tale of magic and mystery, of love and danger, Balthasar's ultimate quest is to find the secret that could save the world.
Before the dawn of the apocalyptic 'Year of the Beast' in 1666, Balthasar Embriaco, a Genoese Levantine merchant, sets out on an adventure that will take him across the breadth of the civilised world, from Constantinople, through the Mediterranean, to London shortly before the Great Fire.
Balthasar's urgent quest is to track down a copy of one of the rarest and most coveted books ever printed, a volume called 'The Hundredth Name', its contents are thought to be of vital importance to the future of the world. There are ninety-nine names for God in the Koran, and merely to know this most secret hundredth name will, Balthasar believes, ensure his salvation.
Maalouf sets out to discover the truth about why Boutros, a poet and educator in Lebanon, traveled across the globe to rescue his younger brother, Gabrayel, who had settled in Havana. What follows is the gripping excavation of a family's hidden past. Maalouf is an energetic and amiable narrator, illuminating the more obscure corners of late Ottoman nationalism, the psychology of Lebanese sectarianism, and the dynamics of family quarrels. He moves with great agility across time and space, and across genres of writing. But he never loses track of his story's central thread: his quest to lift the shadow of legend from his family's past.
Origins is at once a gripping family chronicle and a timely consideration of Lebanese culture and politics.
Une fois encore, nous conduisant sur la route de la soie à travers les plus envoûtantes cités d’Asie, Amin Maalouf nous ravit par son extraordinaire talent de conteur.
A la suite d’Edgar Allan Poe, il nous dit : « Et maintenant, promène ton regard sur Samarcande ! N’est-elle pas reine de la terre , Fière, au-dessus de toutes les villes, et dans ses mains leurs destinées ? »