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The King at the Edge of the World: A Novel…
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The King at the Edge of the World: A Novel (2020. Auflage)

von Arthur Phillips (Autor)

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16515131,018 (3.76)18
Queen Elizabeth's spymasters recruit an unlikely agent--the only Muslim in England--for an impossible mission in a mesmerizing novel from "one of the best writers in America" (The Washington Post)   The year is 1601. Queen Elizabeth I is dying, childless. Her nervous kingdom has no heir. It is a capital crime even to think that Elizabeth will ever die. Potential successors secretly maneuver to be in position when the inevitable occurs. The leading candidate is King James VI of Scotland, but there is a problem.   The queen's spymasters--hardened veterans of a long war on terror and religious extremism--fear that James is not what he appears. He has every reason to claim to be a Protestant, but if he secretly shares his family's Catholicism, then forty years of religious war will have been for nothing, and a bloodbath will ensue. With time running out, London confronts a seemingly impossible question: What does James truly believe?   It falls to Geoffrey Belloc, a secret warrior from the hottest days of England's religious battles, to devise a test to discover the true nature of King James's soul. Belloc enlists Mahmoud Ezzedine, a Muslim physician left behind by the last diplomatic visit from the Ottoman Empire, as his undercover agent. The perfect man for the job, Ezzedine is the ultimate outsider, stranded on this cold, wet, and primitive island. He will do almost anything to return home to his wife and son.   Arthur Phillips returns with a unique and thrilling novel that will leave readers questioning the nature of truth at every turn.… (mehr)
Mitglied:wagnerkim
Titel:The King at the Edge of the World: A Novel
Autoren:Arthur Phillips (Autor)
Info:Random House (2020), 288 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
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Tags:to-read, put-down

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The King at the Edge of the World von Arthur Phillips

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(16) I love Arthur Phillips' novels, especially 'The Egyptologist,' and 'The Tragedy of Arthur.' This promised to be more like his best - very well-written almost whimsical yet poignant historical fiction without some of the more angsty modern day characters found in 'The Song is You,' and 'Prague' which I liked less. Is King James of Scotland soon to be Queen Elizabeth's successor Protestant or Catholic? This question meant the world at the dawn of 17th century England. This novel is about a Muslim scholar and physician who is abandoned in England when his party from Constantinople leaves him as a gift to the Queen. He spends many long years in England alone and shunned. Despite shaving his beard and converting to Christianity, he is barely tolerated. He becomes a pawn in a game of spies in the Court of of King James of Scotland in the hopes his reward will be a triumphant return to his beloved home and Allah.

Mahmoud or Matthew's wry musings on the subtleties which cause the Christians to burn one another at the stake is bitterly funny. His kindness and intelligence and loneliness is striking. The writing from Mahmoud's POV is always good. I cared less about Belloc, the spy. He was not as well-drawn and rang a bit false. I think the book would have been more successful if indeed we could relate to the enmity between the Christian sects more via a full exploration of character. Anyway, the writing was quite good, the story engrossing. But the ending - Ugh. I love ambiguity for arts sake but come on. . . A full one star off; it may be a generous 4 star rating due to the ending. But others may like. I say no more. . .

Not his best but still a worthy read, especially for lovers of the English monarchy and good writing like myself. I like his more playfully narrated 'Arthur' and 'Egyptologist' better though. ( )
  jhowell | Mar 29, 2021 |
The King at the Edge of the World, Arthur Phillips, author; Euan Morton, narrator
This is not your run-of-the-mill historic fiction. This novel will confound and please, alternately, as it reveals the lengths to which unscrupulous men will go to accomplish their goals. Using those more honorable than they, they manipulate facts and situations to achieve their purpose. Let the play begin!
In this novel, when an esteemed and respected Turkish doctor, Mahmoud Ezzedine, eminently content with his life, is taken to London, England, on a trip to establish trade with the two countries. He discovers too late that the Ambassador arranged this trip to separate him from his wife and son. The Ambassador had eyes on his wife. Ezzedine believes the Sultan wishes him to go, and he is devoted to him. He would never disobey. Later in life he will wonder if he had, had more courage, would things have evolved differently. He finds himself in a country not as advanced as his own, not as clean as his own and one in which his religion is forbidden. Will he abandon Islam?
When the entourage is scheduled to return home, he is tripped into staying, given as a gift to the Queen, Elizabeth. It seems she is barren, childless and is ill. There is no heir to the throne. Many are attempting to manipulate the situation to get the right person to be next in line. King James VI, is the heir, and is supposedly Protestant, but both his parents were Catholic . His mother, Mary, was beheaded. Is he truly a Protestant or a secret Catholic?
As the time and years passed, the doctor is gifted twice more to different patrons. The final one is the piece de resistance. He is to be the lynch-pin in the process to decide who is the rightful heir. He is to play a role in finding out whether or not King James is a practicing Protestant as he claims. He is to be planted in the King's Court, assigned to get close to him and discover the truth. The stage is set for him, but before he agrees to play his part, he extracts a promise to be returned home when his task is completed. During his time in England, he has changed his name to Matthew Thatcher, he has converted and shaved his beard, he has eaten forbidden foods, but now, he wishes to try to find his family once again.
Will Ezzedine succeed in finding out the true religion of James? Will he ever get home? Will he be guilty of Apostasy and be punished or killed? Will he get a hero’s welcome for doing the Sultan’s bidding, although, with the passage of time, a Sultan has passed, as well, and a new man is on the throne. The reader will be left with questions at the end of this confusing but interesting novel. When all men are scheming, and none are telling the truth, how does one know the real story? As the chess game proceeds, it is impossible to guess. Ezzedine was a man without a country. He was in a place with no protection or support. The plot and the conclusion are the subject of conjecture. What force or which person will move it in one direction or another and be successful. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Mar 8, 2021 |
In 1591 Mahmoud Ezzedine, the highly regarded physician to a Turkish sultan, travels with a delegation to the court of Queen Elizabeth I to discuss matters of trade and support Elizabeth in England’s conflict with the Spanish. In a surprising turn of events, Ezzedine is prevented from returning to Constantinople. He serves as physician to a nobleman and later plays an integral role in obtaining information necessary to determine whether Scotland’s King James VI should succeed Queen Elizabeth.

As Ezzedine becomes increasingly embroiled in a covert operation, elements of a spy novel are layered atop historical fiction in a satisfying way. Once or twice the text read more like a history book and there were times I wanted deeper character development. But the clever ending was an excellent payoff, leaving much to the reader’s imagination. ( )
  lauralkeet | Jan 15, 2021 |
Reminded me of Alberto Mussa's books. It takes some time for the plot to start and it can be boring at times. I enjoyed the dialogues. It could be interesting as a play. I identified with Mahmoud as an immigrant. ( )
  ladyars | Dec 31, 2020 |
Spy thriller? Historical fiction? Well, both actually. Set in 1601, Elizabeth I is on her deathbed and she has no heir. James VI of Scotland is the closest thing they have. But is he secretly a practicing Catholic? How to find out? A spy is needed to kerplunk himself down in James' court and find out the truth. Why not the only Muslim physician in England?

This was great fun and I was kept guessing actually even when the book ended. The author presents you with several different options, in the end, so....eeney, meeney, miney, mo. ( )
  brenzi | Dec 22, 2020 |
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Queen Elizabeth's spymasters recruit an unlikely agent--the only Muslim in England--for an impossible mission in a mesmerizing novel from "one of the best writers in America" (The Washington Post)   The year is 1601. Queen Elizabeth I is dying, childless. Her nervous kingdom has no heir. It is a capital crime even to think that Elizabeth will ever die. Potential successors secretly maneuver to be in position when the inevitable occurs. The leading candidate is King James VI of Scotland, but there is a problem.   The queen's spymasters--hardened veterans of a long war on terror and religious extremism--fear that James is not what he appears. He has every reason to claim to be a Protestant, but if he secretly shares his family's Catholicism, then forty years of religious war will have been for nothing, and a bloodbath will ensue. With time running out, London confronts a seemingly impossible question: What does James truly believe?   It falls to Geoffrey Belloc, a secret warrior from the hottest days of England's religious battles, to devise a test to discover the true nature of King James's soul. Belloc enlists Mahmoud Ezzedine, a Muslim physician left behind by the last diplomatic visit from the Ottoman Empire, as his undercover agent. The perfect man for the job, Ezzedine is the ultimate outsider, stranded on this cold, wet, and primitive island. He will do almost anything to return home to his wife and son.   Arthur Phillips returns with a unique and thrilling novel that will leave readers questioning the nature of truth at every turn.

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3 9
3.5 7
4 14
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