The Western world turns upside down in this time-traveling alternate history by the author of The End Game (2016, etc.).
A naked “mystery man” suddenly appears in the Muslim city of Paris. After murdering a man for his clothes, he winds up in the hospital. The year is 1438, or 2017 if you live in the exclusively Christian and white Christian Republic of America. He is Ayman Rasheed, a strange, tattooed patient who eventually begins to babble apparent nonsense to a Dr. Ramazan about traveling across three centuries from the time of the Ottomans’ siege of Vienna. “None of you would be here if it wasn’t for me,” Rasheed insists. Meanwhile, Kamal and Taymoor are partners in the counterterrorism unit of the sultan’s secret police and are honored to witness the public beheadings of terrorists they have caught. It’s that kind of society—the erstwhile Notre Dame cathedral is now called Faith Mosque, Paris has minarets, its main language is Turkish, and freedom doesn’t exist. This is all because Rasheed isn’t the “delusional joker” Ramazan thinks he is. Rasheed had traveled to 1683 C.E., bushwhacked Christian generals, and paved the way for the Ottoman conquest of Europe. The bad news: Europe is “a murderous, barbaric state,” and America looks no better. The good news: There weren’t two world wars with tens of millions of deaths. Which outcome is better is a subject Kamal must mull. Rasheed used a special Palmyran incantation for his time travel, but still, “it’s not so easy to travel three hundred years across time.” When Kamal and friends find those magic words, they must decide whether to undo Rasheed’s deed and allow history to take its natural course. It’s no matter why the words work—they are a simple plot device to show the stench, misery, and horror of that great clash of civilizations that “would decide the fate of the world.”
This untypical thriller powerfully mixes history, culture, warfare, and imagination.