At the end of the fifteenth century, the keys to Granada, the last Muslim state in the Iberian Peninsula, have been handed over to the Christian king and queen. Abu Jaafar the bookbinder watches Christopher Columbus and his entourage in a triumphant parade of exotic plants, animals, and human captives from the Americas. But as Spain celebrates the acquisition of a new world, Muslims and Jews throughout the country are mourning the loss of an old one, and now face confiscations, forced conversions, and expulsions. As the new masters of Granada burn books, Abu Jaafar quietly moves his rich library out of town, while still preparing for the marriage of his granddaughter Saleema to his apprentice Saad.
Radwa Ashour skillfully weaves a history of Granadan rule and the Andalusian Arab world into a novel that evokes cultural loss and the disappearance of a vanquished population.
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