The Sultan's Shadow: One Family's Rule at the Crossroads of East and West

The Sultan's Shadow: One Family's Rule at the Crossroads of East and West

Christiane Bird

a narrative almost unknown within the West, approximately of the center East’s such a lot amazing figures—Oman’s Sultan acknowledged and his rebellious daughter Princess Salme—comes to lifestyles during this narrative. From their capital at the sultry African island of Zanzibar, Sultan acknowledged and his descendants have been shadowed and all yet shattered through the increase and fall of the nineteenth-century East African slave trade.

“As clever, liberal, and enlightened a prince as Arabia has ever produced.” That’s how explorer Richard Burton defined Seyyid stated Al bin Sultan Busaid, who got here to strength in Oman in 1804 while he used to be fifteen years outdated. in the course of his half-century reign, stated governed with uncanny contradiction: as a believer in a tolerant Islam who won energy via bloodshed and perfidy, and as an open-minded, intellectually curious guy who validated kin with the West whereas construction an enormous advertisement empire at the backs of tens of millions of slaves. His daughter Salme, born to a concubine in a Zanzibar harem, scandalized her relations and folks via eloping to Europe with a German businessman in 1866, changing to Christianity, and writing the first-known autobiography of an Arab woman.

Christiane chicken paints a beautiful portrait of violent relations feuds, foreign intrigues, and charismatic characters—from Sultan stated and Princess Salme to the wildly filthy rich slave dealer Tippu Tip and the indefatigable British antislavery crusader Dr. David Livingstone. The Sultan’s Shadow is a brilliantly researched and irresistibly readable foray into the stark brutality and decadent fantastic thing about a vanished international.

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