Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Mother of the Believers"

Kamran Pasha is a writer and producer for NBC's new television series Kings, which is a modern day retelling of the Biblical tale of King David. Previously he served as a writer on NBC's remake of Bionic Woman, and on Showtime Network's Golden Globe nominated series Sleeper Cell, about a Muslim FBI agent who infiltrates a terrorist group.

He applied the “Page 69 Test” to Mother of the Believers, his debut novel, and reported the following:
Mother of the Believers is an epic novel on the birth of Islam as told by Aisha, the young wife of Prophet Muhammad. The novel is meant to be an imagining of Islamic history from women’s point of view and on page 69, we are first introduced to one of the most important female characters – Hind, the evil queen of Mecca. It is the conflict between the Prophet and his loyal band of followers against Hind and her minions that serves as the spine of the story, and so page 69 represents the moment when the novel leaps into full action.

On page 69, Hind and her husband Abu Sufyan are hosting a council of noblemen to determine how to handle the rise of the Prophet’s new religious movement. Islam is primarily supported by the poor and weak in Arab society, and is disrupting the power of the elites who rule Mecca with an iron fist. Aisha, the heroine of the novel, is only a small child at the time and has managed to sneak inside the chamber and overhears the council’s secret plot to destroy the new faith.

As Aisha watches from her hiding place, Abu Sufyan attempts to quell the calls for violence against the Muslims. The wily politician is worried that bloodshed will only make the troublemakers more sympathetic and attract more people to their movement. The council members are initially swayed by Abu Sufyan’s words, until Hind intervenes and uses her cunning to incite the passions of the crowd. Her call for a violent suppression of the Muslim faith sets in motion a series of events that will forever change the course of history…


“Why do you fear the spilling of a little blood, my husband?” Hind said in a husky voice. “No nation can stand that will not pay the price of order.”

All eyes were on her as she moved toward her husband. Abu Sufyan saw the hungry yet terrified gaze of the crowd on his beautiful wife and his face reddened at her blatant defiance of his authority.

“A wise merchant always weighs the price with a cold heart,” he said, an edge entering his voice. “He does not allow himself to be swayed by the emotions of a woman.”

Hind turned to face her husband and I saw a dangerous look in her eyes. I saw her right hand move back as if to slap him, and my eyes fell on a golden armlet that wrapped around her olive-colored forearm. It looked Egyptian in design, two snakes curling around her wrist, their jaws meeting behind her hand, a glittering ruby held between their savage fangs. It was beautiful and terrifying, much like Hind herself…

Read an excerpt from Mother of the Believers, and learn more about the book and author at Kamran Pasha's website and blog.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue