While researching the life of Imam Shamil, a 19th century Muslim chieftain, history professor at the University of Aberdeen, Natasha Wilson with her Russian/Sudanese heritage, is drawn into the life of one of her students; Oz is a descendant of Shamil, and like Natasha is grappling with his cultural identity. When he comes to the attention of the authorities for his supposed extremism, Natasha's carefully constructed life is also called into question. Intertwined with their story is that of Shamil and his involvement with the court of the Tzar.
With parallel storylines and settings in Scotland, Georgia and Sudan, this engaging story vividly depicts the experience of living in exile and yearning for home.
Some of our members were sad when they finished this book. Generally well received.
Very challenging read. Complex historical details and narrative style.
Interesting story with themes of identity and belonging conducted over 2 distinct threads of a story - the historical and the modern. Engendered a great discussion - people felt like they learnt a LOT from reading this book.
Enjoyed the comparison of centuries, but felt the 1850s more real. Very well-written.
Most members enjoyed the book, both the historic part between Russia and the Caucasus, and the contemporary part in Scotland, showing how harshly Muslims are treated by police.
A very interesting history lesson.
A well researched story covering historical events and issues which were unknown to our group. An interesting and easy read - the questions were excellent in developing a good discussion.
Much enjoyed by the group. We found the story very interesting, about different countries, languages, customs, and the comparison between recent events and history.
We particularly enjoyed the historical story of Iman Shamil (19thC) and the anti- Russian resistance in the Caucasian War. Led to Google research on the area.