Abdul Rahman Azzam's incredible book is published today by Icon Books. THE OTHER EXILE is an historical adventure story, a tale of a real-life Robinson Crusoe and his total retreat from society.

Azzam presents, through an expertly-paced narrative, the largely untold story of 16th Century Portuguese nobleman Fernao Lopes. In 1506 Fernão Lopes, a member of his country’s minor nobility, travelled to Goa in search of honour and wealth. There he converted to Islam, married a Muslim, fought his former countrymen, and was eventually captured – his nose and hands publicly cut off for treachery. Eventually sailing for home, he jumped ship at St. Helena, off the coast of Southern Africa, becoming the island’s first inhabitant, with only a black cockerel for company.

Based on ground-breaking research by A R Azzam, author of the acclaimed SALADIN (Longman, 2007), THE OTHER EXILE is at once a historical adventure story and a meditation on solitude, remoteness and the soul’s inward journey. It is a story about redemption in one of the darkest periods in Europe and the tale of the haunting relationship between man and wild nature.

Tom Webber, commissioning editor at Icon Books says, ‘the extraordinary story of Fernao Lopes immediately captures the imagination, and Abdul Rahman Azzams’s careful and lyrical narrative voice is perfectly suited to telling it. Lopes lived a life of amazing contrasts, and his remarkable journey from adventurer to desert-island dwelling hermit is a fascinatingly resonant one of a longing for peace and self-knowledge that has instant appeal.’

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About the author

Dr Abdul Rahman Azzam is a graduate of Oxford University where he completed his BA and PhD in history. He is the author of RUMI AND THE KINGDOM OF JOY (Muhammadi Trust, 2000) and in 2007 Longman published his biography of Saladin to critical acclaim.  The Edinburgh Evening News called it ‘a comprehensive survey not just of the man, but of the age in which he lived’, the FT Weekend described it as ‘absorbing’ and The Irish News praised the book as ‘timely and well-written'. SALADIN was a bestseller when published in Arabic and was selected in Jordan as one of the top one hundred books on Islam.

Born in Egypt, Abdul Rahman is currently based in Qatar where he works as an advisor to the Royal Family. Currently completing his next book, THE OTHER EXILE, he has begun research on another: BEYOND THE OCEAN OF FOGS: Abu Bakkari and the Quest to Discover the Americas.