Balthasar's Odyssey

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Harvill, 2002 - Merchants - 391 pages
5 Reviews
A journey across cultures and civilisations in search of spiritual salvation and literary enlightenment. In the Koran there are 99 names for God. Does the 100th exist? Months before the dawn of the apocalyptic "Year of the Beast", 1666, Balthasar Embriaco, a Genoese Levantine merchant embarks on a quest to find the answer. He sets out on a journey that will take him across the breadth of the civilized world, making his way to Constantinople and on to Smyrna and Aleppo before embarking for the Isle of Chios and sailing through the Mediterranean, via Genoa and Lisbon, arriving in London shortly before the outbreak of the Great Fire. The purpose of Balthasar's expedition is to search for a copy of the rarest of books, one entitled "The One Hundredth Name". Merely to know this most secret of the names of God will, Balthasar believes, ensure he is saved.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - otterley - LibraryThing

Balthasar's odyssey may not last quite as long as the original wandering through the Greek world, but it takes the somewhat reluctant Genoese protagonist from his Levantine (Syrian) home as far as ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A clever picaresque from Maalouf (In the Name of Identity, 2001, etc.) takes us from the Middle East across all of Europe in search of an enchanted book.In 1665, much of the Christian world became ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Amin Maalouf's fiction includes Leo the African, Rock of Tanios, which won the 1993 Prix Goncourt, Samarkand and Ports of Call. He is also the author of an acclaimed scholarly work, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, as well as the much admired essay, On Identity.

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