Set in the legendary Golden Age of Baghdad, these interconnecting tales are woven into a plot as intricate and labyrinthine as a Persian carpet. An Islamic classical poet/detective and his storyteller/thief accomplice engage in a bawdy romp in the company of a cast of corrupt and decadent characters. But be warned, this is no children's Arabian Nights adventure, but an exuberant and sexually-explicit version of historical detective fiction.
'And just as poetry can redeem, so it can condemn. There are hacks who live by writing satires about important men; and then make those important men pay, to ensure the verses about their vices are never published.
'Only a few years ago the poet Bashar was beaten to death by the Khalifah's Guard, and his body thrown into the Tigris in a sack. Admittedly though that may not have been for anything he wrote. The horny old toad may have just fucked the wrong man's wife or daughter. And I myself came close to execution once, thanks to an ill-judged jest.
'It was a few years ago, when I was new to the city. The Khalifah took it upon himself to visit me late at night. This was particularly inconvenient as I had picked up three charming, if somewhat rough boys from the back alleys of Harbiya. We had just finished dining and were getting down to desert, as it were - no, I must tell you the story properly ...