Arabian Nights, 1914
This historical novel is the tales of the Arabian Nights with a twist: a modern day Scheherazade, World War I, and Kaiser Wilhelm II. Zade, a literary descendant of Scheherazade, travels from the neutral kingdom of Ouda to Berlin on the eve of World War I. The mission of this ambitious young woman is to whisper her Tales of a Thousand and One Nights to Kaiser Wilhelm. Most of the book revolves around strategies undertaken to get her close enough to Wilhelm to accomplish this task.
Koch tells the story through a variety of narratives, including endearing dispatches sent by Zade to her king, also her lover. Another voice details background information about the Kaiser and other pertinent characters. Interspersed throughout the book are boxed snippets of historical facts (e.g., the number of Muslims in India and Egypt). Some work to enhance the story; others are irrelevant. The author also addresses religious issues and German tensions, in particular the Jewish enigma. He highlights the dynamics of German/Jewish relationships, and uses important Jews, such as Einstein, to help facilitate the introduction of Zade and Wilhelm and the beginning of World War I.