The Merchant King’ is a debut novel by Shakir Husain, an Indian journalist who has spent more than a decade in the United Arab Emirates, working for Yahoo, The Gulf News and Gulf Today. The novel is a fictional account of a young king caught between the shackles of the past and dreams of the future. Given his extensive reporting experience in the Middle East, Husain skillfully transports the reader to a mythical Arab nation, as he narrates a fascinating story.
Saqr, the prince of Balad, studies in London, and goes on to become ‘King Falcon’ for the natives of Neolandia – who hail Balad as their ally. Saqr’s dream of modernising his tiny island come crashing down, as Balad becomes a hub of war, and gets embroiled in turbulent events. On one occasion, when Saqr’s close friend Leila, daughter of a wealthy newspaper owner, fears for Balad, he tells her, “This Island will be a brand new place. There is going to be money everywhere.” But when Scar, the Supreme Commander of the Arab Republic of Khaufistan, invades neighbouring Benzenistan, Saqr and his dreams get entangled in tumultuous drama.
The narrative stays clear of any historical baggage. The prose keeps a good pace, liberally peppered with satirical humour, portraying the idiosyncrasies and ambitions of a young king’s tryst with bankers, doctors, scientists, models and militia. We have a beautiful Brazilian model, a gorgeous sniper, a crazy scientist and a mercurial queen, to complete the escapades of Saqr.
The Merchant King
Author: Shakir Husain
PUBLISHER: Indialog Publications
PRICE: Rs. 195