Egypt in the ninth century ad: an Arab, Muslim ruling class governs a country of mostly Coptic-speaking Christians. After an exorbitant land tax imposed by the caliph’s governors sparks a peasant revolt, Budayr is dispatched to the marshlands of the Nile Delta as an escort for a church-appointed emissary whose mission is to persuade the rebels to lay down their arms. But he is soon caught up in a swirl of events and concerns that alter the course of his life irrevocably, setting him on a path he could never have foreseen. The events that befall him and the insights he gains from them bring about a gradual but inexorable personal transformation, through which his eyes are opened to the fundamental commonalities practical, spiritual, and existential that bind Muslims and Copts, and he emerges as an emissary of a new sort. Hailed as a groundbreaking treatment of otherwise neglected aspects of medieval history, The Man from Bashmour is an exploration of the Egyptian character past and present, and offers insights into Egyptian thought on everything from love, philosophy, and religion to life and death.
Salwa Bakr (born 1949) is an Egyptian critic, novelist and author. She was born in the Matariyya district in Cairo in 1949. Her father was a railway worker. She studied business at Ain Shams University, gaining a BA degree in 1972. She went on to earn another BA in literary criticism in 1976, before embarking on a career in journalism. She worked as a film and theatre critic for various Arabic newspapers and magazines. Bakr lived in Cyprus for a few years with her husband before returning to Egypt in the mid-1980s.