Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Sinai Tapestry by Edward Whittemore

"Yet Strongbow did appear, entirely naked.
Or rather, naked of clothes."
~~Page 52

Sinai Tapestry
Edward Whittemore
ISBN: 9781882968220

Publisher: Old Earth Books/2002

Pages: 310

Sinai Tapestry, is the first book of Jerusalem Quartet. And speaks of a middle east which is not easy to understand at first glance. Pegged as fantasy reality, it totally works that way. Skanderbeg Wallenstein, a fanatical Trappist monk from Albania, comes across the oldest bible, which question every belief all have held. He knows it discovery would lead to chaos and hides it again. However, he writes a bible, forging the old one.

Many strange characters connect to each other and we have here is story which is fiction yet so real.
In Sinai Tapestry, characters move from place to place; and also through time itself - and history - somewhat in improbable and implausible ways; but they are well conceived, and well rendered for us, even if as larger than life. If we take two of the characters, Plantagent Strongbow and Haj Harun, this is what we find:

Plantagenet Strongbow, is the twenty-ninth Duke of Dorset, and is a great swordsman, botanist, and explorer; he disappears in the Sinai in 1840, and reappears forty years later as an Arab holy man who has written a thirty-three volume study of Levantine sex, and who becomes the secret owner of the Ottoman Empire. He is seven-feet seven-inches tall.

And Haj Harun, a former antiquities dealer and stone carver of winged lions during the Assyrian occupation of the Holy Land, a proprietor of an all-night grocery store under the Greeks, a waiter under the Romans, a distributor of hashish and goats under the Turks, is a man who has been able to do all these things and to live in all these places because he is at least three thousand years old.

"When I want to daydream," he says to Strongbow, "I gaze at one of my antiquities and pretty soon I'm slipping back in time and seeing Romans and Babylonians in the streets of Jerusalem."

The novel is not an easy read and unless one trully concentrates it appears incomprehensible. But once one gets into it, the mysticism gets into the spirit of the reader. Islam, Christianity and Judaism, all three religions seem to merge and we get the best of the three. The description of the places and the people, the houses, all these engross us. Jerusalem comes so alive. It made me want to visit the place.


Bryan R. Terry said...

That sounds interesting. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

My Teaser is HERE

fredamans said...

Sounds like a very deep and thought provoking read!


Lisa said...

here's mine

Anonymous said...

410-869-1925... you know who it is.