The Angel with One Hundred Wings: A Tale from the Arabian Nights

Written by Daniel Horch
Review by India Edghill

Ninth-century Baghdad may be called “the City of Peace,” but it’s still a hotbed of intrigue and danger, as the Sultan’s friend and chess partner Abulhassan knows all too well. So when the Prince of Persia falls in love with Shemselnehar, the Sultan’s favorite concubine, and asks Abulhassan’s aid in eloping with her, the elderly alchemist is reluctant to become involved in so risky an enterprise. But his fondness for the young lovers leads Abulhassan into a game as intricate and dangerous as the chess matches he plays against the Sultan. Abulhassan finds himself balancing old and new friendships, weaving carefully between rival court factions, and judging his own life in the process. Will true love prevail? Will Abulhassan find contentment at last? Or will the executioner’s blade cut happiness short?

Although as the subtitle suggests, Angel is set in a Baghdad that might have been, a fairy tale rather than a true historical novel, this is a charming tale, engagingly told.