The Prisoner of the Portuguese
The Prisoner of the Portuguese is the story of a simple man who leaves Fez and goes to the countryside looking for work, only to find himself a prisoner in a Portuguese jail on the North African coast, leaving behind a wife and three children. However, he bargains with his jailer, telling him stories to avoid the firing squad. He must tell a story which pleases the jailor or face execution. The novel thus follows in parallel the stories told by the prisoner and the main narrative. The novel illuminates a difficult period in the history of Morocco in the sixteenth century, torn by the struggle between the Saadis and the Marinids and the Portuguese occupation, while also exploring feelings of fear, expectation, love, hatred and the desire for revenge.