Jean-Christophe Rufin yokes the elegant language of the French enlightenment with the storytelling of Alexandre Dumas to create a splendid parable of liberty, religious fanaticism and the possibility of happiness.
‘Set in 1700, towards the end of the reign of Louis XIV, it follows the fortunes of a brave apothecary, a talented but unofficial doctor, who is talked into leading an embassy from Cairo to Ethiopia . . . Rufin maintains a perfect balance between impatient detachment and compassionate curiosity. “The Abyssinian,” like Thackeray’s ” Vanity Fair,” carries the weight of history with good-humoured finesse’ “The Times “
‘An ambitious first novel, dashing, abundant and, when necessary, vividly theatrical’ “Times Literary Supplement”
‘[A] remarkably assured first novel . . . Rufin’s writing is elegantly readable’ “Independent”
‘It is old-fashioned enough to be delightful, and new enough to be moving’ “Glasgow Herald “
‘Rufin offers the reader at least three different novels in the space of a single book: a tale of diplomatic intrigue, a voyage of discovery to a virtually unknown civilisation, and a chronicle of the adventures and loves of his irrepressible hero’ “Daily Telegraph”