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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 10/2020
  • 1800315449 1800315449
  • 352 pages
  • $15.99
Ebook Details
  • 11/2020
  • 978-1800315440 B08P522C63
  • 352 pages
  • $7.99
The Travels of ibn Thomas
The adventures of a man torn between religious and political loyalties, and embroiled in international conflict and intrigue, The Travels of ibn Thomas, the second book in the series that began with The Sugar Merchant, is a gripping story of one man’s life, and a fascinating glimpse into the tumultuous twelfth century’s commercial and scientific revolution when the three Abrahamic faiths meet in both cooperation and deadly conflict. Thoma, son of Thomas Woodward, born in Egypt but raised in England, embarks on a dangerous and eventful journey that takes him to the famous Salernitan medical school to train as a physician. His first assignment takes him to Sicily, where he saves the life of a royal prince, deals with an epidemic and becomes the court physician. But dark forces are at play, and Thoma’s life is turned upside-down; barely escaping from Sicily, he is captured and enslaved by pirates, befriends an assassin, gains and loses a fortune in gold, and finds himself plunged into political and religious turmoil of the early twelfth century Holy Land.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: Hutson-Wiley’s intricate plot charts Thomas’s travels across the heart of the Christian and Muslim worlds. The author’s sensitive portrayal of the time period will resonate with readers.

Prose/Style: Hutson-Wiley’s prose is atmospheric, capturing the realities of the time – including its prejudices – with accuracy.

Originality: Hutson-Wiley’s lively story reimagines a world confined to history book with dynamism and surprisingly heartfelt writing.

Character Development/Execution: Thomas’s likability and frank narration will draw in any reader.

Blurb: This well-researched historical drama is a must for readers who love being swept away to a different time. Thomas’s adventures as a physician during early medieval period are filled with political intrigue. 

Date Submitted: June 15, 2021

Reviews
Hutson-Wiley’s follow up to his debut, first in The Sugar Merchant series, follows 12th-century Thoma ibn Thomas, son of an English father and Moor mother. After his father embarks on a dangerous mission to help free Jerusalem from Muslim control, Thoma travels from his home in Eynsham to study medicine in Salermo. Thus begins a series of epic adventures that see him curing Ruggiero of Sicilia and earning the favor of his mother, Adelaide, acting as Regent, escaping pirates and freeing slaves. His quest to discover his father’s fate has him traversing the length and breadth of the Christian and Muslim worlds, healing as he goes.

The author’s extensive historical research adds realism to the novel with depictions of actual historical figures and events. Those unfamiliar with the turmoil and conflict, including wars, between different faiths and cultures in the 12th century, as empires expanded and contracted, may find the plotline challenging to follow. The addition of a glossary at the conclusion, however, helps familiarize readers with the terminology referencing places, religions, and other terms with Latin, Arabic, and Persian origins.

Though Thoma is a 12th-century physician, his internal conflicts and musings about his Muslim origins and subsequent Christian baptism is a conflict that transcends time, providing him with an authentic voice that will resonate with contemporary readers: “There was no escape from my difference. Half Moor, half Christian; half English, half Arab.” As Thoma comes to terms with his religious convictions, he must figure out how to balance his duties as a physician with his vow to discover what happened to his father. These ever-present thoughts form the basis for many of Thoma’s decisions, propelling the plotline swiftly forward as his travels and adventures are highlighted by an undercurrent of mystery and ever-present dangers. This thoughtful, detailed narrative will draw readers in.

Takeaway: A 12th-century physician navigates the dangers of illness and religious battles while searching for clues to his father’s fate in this intriguing novel.

Great for fans of: Dan Jones’s The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors, Susan Peek’s Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 10/2020
  • 1800315449 1800315449
  • 352 pages
  • $15.99
Ebook Details
  • 11/2020
  • 978-1800315440 B08P522C63
  • 352 pages
  • $7.99

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