Hi, I’m AJ Lewis

I’m a translator and author of fiction born and educated in New England. I left the United States as a young man for Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent where I acquired some languages, and raised a family.

As a traveler, I have always been drawn to overlooked and forgotten places where every corner turned holds the promise of the unexpected. My hope is that the souks I’ve explored will leave their flavors in my fiction. As an author, I usually write my essays with the help of Writemypapers, but I myself create puzzles that baffle and then amaze my readers. My stories aim to describe the world, not to inform it; but if they cause people to think about their own world, then maybe I’ve accomplished something.

I turned to the Desert Debris Press when traditional publishers rejected my work, telling my agent the series is set in a time and place about which readers know little to nothing and care even less.

I hope you enjoy the series, and I hope the books open new vistas for you on a misunderstood and misrepresented society of contradictions.

What did I, Ettore, know of Algiers when I was swept to sea in the year 1788? What could I know? I was barely more than a boy living in a hammock strung nightly from hooks in a kitchen at a seaside bordello in Amalfi.

About the Mystries

The ten novels in the Muhammad Amalfi Mysteries feature the adventures of a young Italian orphan raised in a brothel and lost at sea in an open boat before being taken to Algiers as a captive from a hostile nation. The first three novels, Early Years in Algiers, recount the coming of age of the young captive through his ordeal at sea, the agreement resulting in his ransom, and his years as a student of language and law when he comes to the aid of his friends, acquaintances and, through no intention of his own, the Dey of Algiers.
Using his natural instincts, the street smarts developed while a guide to tourists and pilgrims in his native Amalfi and, in the final volumes, the help of his savvy and resolute wife, Hurriya, Muhammad seeks to navigate the troubled waters of a society consumed by the greed of its rulers and reviled by its European neighbors and competitors for the riches of North Africa and the Mediterranean.

Ready to discover a City on the Mediterranean Long Thought to be Forbidden?

Begin the adventure below!

Conflicts During the Final Ottoman Years in Algiers: 1775 – 1830

1775, July:

Spanish-Tuscan armada of 74 warships and over 200 transport vessels led by General Alexander O’Reilly is destroyed, with casualties of 5,000 men, while attempting to invade Algiers.


War of the American Revolution

1783, August:

Spanish naval bombardment of Algiers by a fleet of 70 warships fails.

1784, July:

Algiers is bombarded by the combined naval forces of Spain, Naples, Malta and Portugal


Russia and Turkey go to war in the Crimea and Caucasus.

1789, July:

The Storming of the Bastille and Revolution in France


Wars of the First Coalition as French Republicans battle Royalist Europe


The “Glorious First of June” naval battle is claimed a victory by the British after clashing in the Atlantic with the French under Admiral Vilaret.

1796, July 11:

American mariners held hostage in Algiers are ransomed.


Napoleon’s Army of the Orient invades the Mediterranean, losing most of its fleet to the British under Lord Nelson at AbuKir after capturing the garrison at Malta in June of 1798

Wars of the Second Coalition in which Russia, Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, Portugal, Naples, and Vatican faced off against France.


In India, the British defeat Tippu Sultan in the Fourth and final Mysore War


British defeat Denmark-Norway in the Battle of Copenhagen


First Barbary Wars in which the US and Sweden attack the North African state


Anglo-Russian War


Second Barbary War


The British-Dutch Fleet under Lord Exmouth Bombards Algiers

1830, June:

Invasion of Algiers by the French

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