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Alamut takes place in 11th Century Persia, in the fortress of Alamut, where self-proclaimed prophet Hasan ibn Sabbah is setting up his mad but brilliant plan to rule the region with a handful elite fighters who are to become his "living daggers." By creating a virtual paradise at Alamut, filled with beautiful women, lush gardens, wine and hashish, Sabbah is able to convince his young fighters that they can reach paradise if they follow his commands. With parallels to Osama bin Laden, Alamut tells the story of how Sabbah was able to instill fear into the ruling class by creating a small army of devotees who were willing to kill, and be killed, in order to achieve paradise. Believing in the supreme Ismaili motto 'Nothing is true, everything is permitted,' Sabbah wanted to 'experiment' with how far he could manipulate religious devotion for his own political gain through appealing to what he called the stupidity and gullibility of people and their passion for pleasure and selfish desires.

The novel focuses on Sabbah as he unveils his plan to his inner circle, and on two of his young followers - the beautiful slave girl Halima, who has come to Alamut to join Sabbah's paradise on earth, and young ibn Tahir, Sabbah's most gifted fighter. As both Halima and ibn Tahir become disillusioned with Sabbah's vision, their lives take unexpected turns.

Alamut was originally written in 1938 as an allegory to Mussolini's fascist state. In the 1960's it became a cult favorite throughout Tito's Yugoslavia, and in the 1990s, during the Balkan's War, it was read as an allegory of the region's strife and became a bestseller in Germany, France and Spain. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the book once again took on a new life, selling more than 20,000 copies in a new Slovenian edition, and being translated around the world in more than 19 languages.

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Used availability for Vladimir Bartol's Alamut

See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US

Hardback Editions

December 2004 : USA Hardback
thumbTitle: Alamut
Author(s): Vladimir Bartol
ISBN: 0-9720287-3-0 / 978-0-9720287-3-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Scala House Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

November 2007 : USA Paperback
thumbTitle: Alamut
Author(s): Vladimir Bartol
ISBN: 1-55643-681-5 / 978-1-55643-681-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

December 2012 : USA Kindle edition
thumbTitle: Alamut
Author(s): Vladimir Bartol
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Availability: Amazon   

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