AJ Lewis opened a door on the home of the bad boys of the Mediterranean and I couldn’t be more amazed at how like us today these very different people from those very distant times could actually be. How the young man from an altogether alien culture could survive and then thrive in the city of pirates makes an amazing story on its own. But his exploration of the city, the people from all over the world he encounters there, the intrigue in the courtroom, the adventures in the winding alleys of the casbah, the thrilling escapes, and how he manages to escape the wrath of the impulsive and unpredictable Dey; All of these make for real page-turners.
I’d like to compare these novels to others I’ve read, but I can’t. The Muhammad Amalfi Mysteries are adventures set in the most exotic and inaccessible of societies. The books are murder mysteries, too. But those responsible for finding the culprits have no tools other than their wits; and they’d better come up with answers that satisfy the Dey. They are court room dramas in courts presided over by cadis appointed for their erudition in religious law and empowered by the Dey to be judge, jury and, if necessary, executioner in his name. Unless, of course, the Dey decides to take the law into his own hands, which is sort of ridiculous because in 1790s Algiers, the Dey is the law! Every page in these novels is a revelation where the incredible comes to life. You know the old saying about history being stranger than fiction. How about fiction that is stranger than the strangest history?

Davis Smith

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