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Aliuf Ag Albachar, born into the noble Tuareg ancestry, is just thirteen when he crests a dune with his mother, looks down from atop his camel onto the ancient fabled city of Timbuktu, and contemplates the day it will finally be his. Unfortunately Aliuf has no idea that misfortune will soon force him to flee across the desert away from everything he has known and toward something greater than he ever imagined.
Propelled by restlessness and the indomitable spirit of his clan, Aliuf bravely pushes onward through a dangerous coming-of-age journey that leads him through a barren land. While following his heart through the vast expanses of the Sahara, he becomes a student enthralled with the great works of Islam's golden age, a warlord who leads his army of angry men through the colossal dunes of the Sahara to battle the enemy, and finally an Islamic judge who makes a monumental discovery that shakes the foundation of his beliefs and forever shapes his destiny.
Riveting from beginning to end, Lords of Misrule does everything it’s supposed to do and more as Hirst delivers a genuine epic. Not one defined by a voluminous word count or an extraordinarily elaborate plot, but by the size of the ideas and visions that captivate from the very start. A coming of age novel in its truest sense it’s not dense with manufactured plot details, it doesn’t need to be, nor is it founded on cheap melodrama, but on Hirst’s ability to engage our imagination and show us his setting through the eyes of his desert born protagonist. A back drop of contrasts of which Aliuf Ag Albachar must make sense and through which he must ultimately find his way, Hirst’s telling is lush with emotionally powerful and poignant moments which he captures in sparingly acerbic prose. It’s an adventure on a grand scale, but it works paradoxically as an intimate portrait of a life interrupted by the vagrancies of fate.
By any stretch of the imagination, Lords of Misrule proves an enthralling read and one that should attract much interest in other releases from Hirst. With broad appeal and highly deserving of your attention, it is recommended without reservation.
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