Prisoner of Al Hakim A Novel
A Story About the Scientist Ibn al-Haytham (965–1040)
Despite being one of the most brilliant mathematicians in the Abbasid caliphate, Alhasan Ibn al-Haytham makes a quiet living in Basra as a scholar and copyist. He's preparing to write a new treatise on vision and light when a strange man wearing unusual clothes kidnaps him and takes him to Cairo, for a meeting with the caliph, Al-Hakim.
What follows is the kind of adventure that the quiet, reserved Alhasan could never have imagined. Alhasan's incredible journey will lead him to the brink of ruin – and perhaps to his most monumental discovery. A novel about one of history's most overlooked scholars, The Prisoner of Al-Hakim is filled with vivid characters, thrilling scenes, and rich philosophical debates. It's a story about how love, faith, and knowledge are ultimately intertwined, and tells us as much about our contemporary times as about bygone eras.
Wardah’s Mini-Review: This period novel dating back to the Abbasid and Fatimid Caliphate brings to the fore an oft-forgotten side of polymaths such as Alhasan Ibn al-Haytham, as a person that, like all of us, experiences doubt, fear and love. Bradley Steffens humanises Ibn Al-Haytham in a dignified way, illustrating the inspirations and thought processes behind many of his defining philosophical and scientific discoveries. A thread that runs through the novel is a deftly woven story of Ibn Al-Haytham and his student, who ends up teaching him bigger lessons in return. Suitable for Young Adults.