The Siege of Isfahan

The Siege of Isfahan

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by Jean-Christophe Rufin
     
 

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A luminous sequel to The Abyssinian, a headlong adventure set in the treacherous splendor of the Eastern empires.
Twenty years have passed since Jean-Baptiste Poncet's daring mission to the remote and exotic court of the King of Abyssinia. We find him now in Isfahan, capital of Persia, practicing medicine in the court of the Shah. In order to rescue his old

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Overview

A luminous sequel to The Abyssinian, a headlong adventure set in the treacherous splendor of the Eastern empires.
Twenty years have passed since Jean-Baptiste Poncet's daring mission to the remote and exotic court of the King of Abyssinia. We find him now in Isfahan, capital of Persia, practicing medicine in the court of the Shah. In order to rescue his old friend Juremi, imprisoned in the Urals, Poncet travels in disguise to Russia, where he engages in a diplomatic duel of wits with Peter the Great. The friends, reunited, are captured by nomads and sold as slaves in Afghanistan. This is the beginning of Poncet's circuitous return to Isfahan, where his wife and daughter are trapped by a besieging army of the Afghan king, Mahmud.

Editorial Reviews

Christian Science Monitor
Jean-Christophe Rufin's engaging sequel...is a solid example of the adventure genre.
Zachary Karabell
The Abyssinian, the prequel to the present novel, introduced us to Jean-Baptiste Poncet, a French apothecary sent to the Sudan by the king of France on a secret mission. Though Poncet and many of the same characters reappear in The Siege of Isfahan, this new novel requires no prior nowledge of the earlier book. It stands on its own as an adventure story of the first order—intelligently written, with a labyrinthine plot, exotic locations, plus the inestimable virtue of never taking itself too seriously....Blessed with skill and intelligence, Rufin has given us a breezy tale of unusual depth that is easy to enjoy, delightful to get lost in and quietly, unequivocally respectful of our desire to read a book that is at once fun and poignant.
Los Angeles Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Reaching back into the archive of characters that made The Abyssinian an international success, Rufin once again sends his gallant French apothecary, Jean-Baptiste Poncet, on a journey through the great empires of the Middle East. This time, Poncet must leave his home in early 18th-century Isfahan, the capital of Persia, to rescue his best friend, Juremi, who has been captured and imprisoned in Russia. First, however, Poncet must fake death to escape the clutches of a Persian king who wants Poncet to be his personal physician. After making his getaway and finding his friend, Poncet is again captured and sold as a slave in Russia; back in Isfahan his wife, Alix, is forced from the family home when a conquering army of Afghans threatens the city. But the worst fate befalls Poncet's red-haired 16-year-old daughter, Saba, who as a "red virgin" is selected to be sacrificed to save Isfahan. After many adventures on the steppes, Poncet and Juremi return to Persia as elephant-keepers in the custody of a band of Afghan warriors. Their efforts to rescue Saba are prodigious, but in the end Saba must rescue herself, and along with her the besieged population of Isfahan. Poncet proves once again to be a lively, engaging protagonist, and Rufin is an able storyteller who keeps his tale moving while offering a wealth of information about the politics and customs of the civilizations of the Middle East. (Mar.) Forecast: Though The Abyssinian won France's prestigious Prix Goncourt, Rufin's novels are more popular than literary, which explains the mixed critical reception for that novel in the U.S. This sequel will do best if booksellers target readers of popular historical fiction. A four-city author tour will give Rufin extra U.S. exposure. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Hero of the Prix Goncourt-winning The Abyssinian, Jean-Baptiste Poncet has even more adventures this time around. He rescues a friend in the Urals, endures slavery in Afghanistan, and then rushes back to Isfahan to save his wife when the city is besieged. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This heavy-breathing sequel to Rufin's popular romantic adventure and surprise Prix Goncourt winner, The Abyssinian (not reviewed), takes stalwart apothecary Jean-Baptiste Poncet from his homeland to Russia (in the early 19th century), and a series of dangerous exploits that climax upon his return to Isfahan, then under attack by Afghanistan. Rufin works in a lot of highly colored history, as well as heavy dollops of melodrama, in a lively homage to the empurpled heyday of Rafael Sabatini. Absolute nonsense—and immensely entertaining.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393323399
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/28/2002
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
382
Sales rank:
773,870
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Jean-Christophe Rufin is a founder of Doctors without Borders and author of the prize-winning first novel The Abyssinian. He lives in France.

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great story with accurate historical background. The weave of the tale is compeling. Enjoyed every adventure. The use of actual historical figures with the fictional characters was most interesting. The detail background of the various places the characters traveled was well done. Just enough background to set the tone. Learned a lot about the period and the settings of the time. Have recommended the novel to many of my friends. It will make a great movie. Most exciting.