Death And The Dervish ($39.95; paper $15.95; Aug. 1996; 480 pp.; 0-8101-1296-5; paper 0-8101-1297-3): A famous novel, originally published in 1966 in Yugoslavia, by an eminent Bosnian author who died (in 1982) before completing the trilogy it was intended to initiate. It's the strange, legendlike story, set in an indeterminate past that appears to be the 18th century, of a Muslim sheikh (or dervish) whose brother is arrested and presumably executed by occupying Turkish rulers. Sheikh Ahmed Nurudin thereafter dedicates his life to destroying the ``government'' that took his brother from him--and in so doing sets in motion a maelstrom of deception and revenge that causes him to betray his closest friend and, ultimately, ruins his own life. A slow, digressive, tortuous novel that generates enormous power--worthy of comparison with Selimovi's great countryman and forerunner Ivo Andric. It's by no means a perfect work of art, but there is greatness in it.