This jumble of cultural, religious, and military history tossed together on behalf of 11th-century Granada is a veritable seraglio of anachronisms which can raise minarets of mirth. The Jewish poet/philosopher Gabirol--he did indeed exist--comes up with only two metric lines during the undue length of the novel and pays a rather muddy tribute to Reason, but he does, in a way, stand by his own precepts: "". . . a reasonable man can stand only so much of this shit,"" he whispers, while on a diplomatic mission to Ibn Tashfent, the Jew-hating, eventual conqueror of Granada. Gabirol's a natural choice as envoy (""Tashfent. . . sure as hell wouldn't expect the minister of roads""), being the adopted son of Arab Granada's Jewish prime minister (Jews and Arabs live and work together in peace) and therefore privy to the most privy of state matters. Among the goings on: the feud between the prime minister's real son and the son of a traitor; Gabirol's love for Arabian Angela; good-natured raillery amongst comrades in arms (""You tell 'em, Joshua""); an energetic sex episode in which Gabirol is hurled and slammed back like a yo-yo; and some military action. Tashfent, dressed in gold (""Enough to scare a man shitless""), eventually burns Granada, and only Gabirol and Angela escape. An early escape for all is advised.