In the early centuries of Christianity Hypa, a monk originally from Egypt, sets out on a journey in the Middle East to serve his God and to cure the sick. His purpose is beset by the temptations of the devil and by the schisms and brutalities among the leaders of the Church. An unusual novel set in a period not often covered in fiction. Translated from the original Arabic and winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2009
I entered Jerusalem at about the age of thirty, my body and soul exhausted by travel on earth and in the heavens and by roaming through the pages of books. I entered it with unsteady steps, close to collapse, in the dog days of Abib (July) and at the door to the great church I fell in a swoon.