There are ninety-nine names for God in the Koran, is it possible that there is a secret one-hundredth name? In this tale of magic and mystery, of love and danger, Balthasar's ultimate quest is to find the secret that could save the world. Before the dawn of the apocalyptic 'Year of the Beast' in 1666, Balthasar Embriaco, a Genoese Levantine merchant, sets out on an adventure that will take him across the breadth of the civilised world, from Constantinople, through the Mediterranean, to London shortly before the Great Fire. Balthasar's urgent quest is to track down a copy of one of the rarest and most coveted books ever printed, a volume called 'The Hundredth Name', its contents are thought to be of vital importance to the future of the world. There are ninety-nine names for God in the Koran, and merely to know this most secret hundredth name will, Balthasar believes, ensure his salvation.
A splendid book that should be read in the way one looks at a highly coloured fresco, allowing oneself to be transported by the breeze that wafts Balthasar on the most unexpected journeys. -- Josette Alia * Nouvel Observateur * Sparkling and erudite, this is a wonderful novel. * Independent * One of Maalouf's most subtle books, and without doubt one of his most accomplished. * Le Point * His observation of human nature in all its facets is wonderfully accurate. * Sunday Telegraph * His is a voice which Europe cannot afford to ignore. * Guardian *