Vladimir Bartol: Alamut

September 22, 2010

51aGnYrOPZL._AA160_I first came across the name ‘Alamut’, which was the fortress of the hashishin/assassins in mediaeval Persia, when I read Amin Maalouf’s beautiful novel ‘Samarkand’; this novel looks at the same place and time through the eyes of the poet Omar Khayyam. ‘Alamut’ is much darker, exploring how the myth of heaven with seventy virgins at your service as the reward for suicide warriors was first created and used. It is a novel, but Bartol does manage to take you right inside the mindset of the warriors, and also the man who realised the destructive potential available to him if he could manipulate vulnerable minds in this way.

Recent history in the Middle East and elsewhere is enlightened, and yet this novel, by a Slovenian writer I’d never heard of, was written and published before the Second World War. It’s well translated, nicely published, and a chilling read.

One Response to “Vladimir Bartol: Alamut”

  1. […]    Revisiting this astonishing novel, which was second entry in this blog nearly eleven years ago… and only got a short write-up back then. It’s a […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: