by Maalouf, Maalouf
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.