Excerpt from The Warlord's Son by Dan Fesperman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Warlord's Son

A Novel

by Dan Fesperman

The Warlord's Son
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 336 pages
    Sep 2005, 336 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"Enjoin believing men to turn their eyes away from temptation and to restrain their carnal desires," the first line said. "This will make their lives purer."

His smile widened. Someone must have seen Daliya exiting a few nights ago, and it probably wasn't the first time. The memory brightened his mood. Whereas he thought of himself as wispy and insubstantial, she was full and complicated, a soul worth clinging to. He continued reading.

"Enjoin believing women to turn their eyes away from temptation and to preserve their chastity; not to display their adornments."

Oh, but such adornments. If this writer only knew. Another set of numbers followed, 24:39, meaning the writer had skipped ahead. The next passage took his smile away.

"As for the unbelievers, their works are like a mirage in a desert. The thirsty traveler thinks it is water, but when he comes near he finds that it is nothing. He finds God there, who pays him back in full. Swift is God's reckoning."

Najeeb wondered angrily what sort of "reckoning" the writer had in mind. Did God's self-appointed scold also intend to be His avenger? He crumpled the page, then reconsidered, smoothing it out and reaching for a pen. This demanded a reply. He pulled his own copy of the Koran from between English editions of Philip Roth and Paul Auster, thumbing the pages. Where was that verse that had recently caught his eye? There. Just as he remembered. He'd be quoting it out of context, of course. In fact, he was likely misinterpreting it altogether, a thought that returned his smile with a gleam of mischief.

"2:79," he wrote. Then he scribbled in rusty Arabic: "Woe betide those that write the scriptures with their own hands and then declare: 'This is from God,' in order to gain some paltry end."

He stuffed the page into the messenger's own envelope and resealed it with tape, then wrote on the outside in Urdu, "A reply to this morning's visitor to apartment 12." After a second cup of tea he grabbed his satchel and the keys to his scooter, taking care to lock the door before rushing down the stairwell. He posted the envelope by the mailboxes at the entrance, wondering how long it would be before someone took the bait. For a moment he had misgivings--why stir the pot?--and his stomach rumbled, as queasy as if he'd just eaten too much chapal kebab. He'd have to remind Daliya to take more care in her comings and goings. The city grew more dangerous and irrational by the day.

"Meddlesome fanatics," Najeeb muttered on his way into the streets. "They'll be the death of us all."

Excerpted from The Warlord's Son by Dan Fesperman Copyright © 2004 by Dan Fesperman. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Tom Jackson
    Growing up in Mumbai in the '70s, I still remember herbs kept fresh in small glasses of water, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Next
    by Stephanie Gangi

    Fast-paced, wickedly observant, and haunting in the best sense of the word.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.