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Balthasar's Odyssey (original 2000; edition 2002)
by Amin Maalouf
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 155970702X, Paperback)It is 1665, and all the signs and portents foretell that next year the Antichrist will appear and the world will come to an end. Antiquarian merchant and sage Balthasar sets out in search of a rare book that may bring salvation to a distraught world, a mysterious work entitled The Hundredth Name. In the course of his odyssey throughout the Mediterranean and beyond, Balthasar travels through countries in ruin, cities in flames, and stricken communities awaiting the Apocalypse. He encounters fear, falsehood, and disillusion, but he also discovers love at a time when he had given up all hope.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:11 -0400)
There are ninety-nine names for God in the Koran, is it possible that there is a secret one-hundredth name? In this tale of magic and mystery, of love and danger, Balthasar's ultimate quest is to find the secret that could save the world. Before the dawn of the apocalyptic 'Year of the Beast' in 1666, Balthasar Embriaco, a Genoese Levantine merchant, sets out on an adventure that will take him across the breadth of the civilised world, from Constantinople, through the Mediterranean, to London shortly before the Great Fire. Balthasar's urgent quest is to track down a copy of one of the rarest and most coveted books ever printed, a volume called 'The Hundredth Name', its contents are thought to be of vital importance to the future of the world. There are ninety-nine names for God in the Koran, and merely to know this most secret hundredth name will, Balthasar believes, ensure his salvation.
(summary from another edition)
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