Tom Webber, commissioning editor at Icon Books, has bought UK & Commonwealth rights (ex. Canada) rights to THE OTHER EXILE, THE REMARKABLE STORY OF FERNÃO LOPES, THE ISLAND OF ST HELENA AND A PARADISE LOST by Abdul Rahman Azzam from Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann. Appealing to readers of Jon Krakauer’s INTO THE WILD or even Cheryl Strayed’s WILD, THE OTHER EXILE is a historical adventure story, a tale of a real-life Robinson Crusoe and his total retreat from human society.

 Abdul Rahman Azzam, who gained his Dphil in History at Oxford and now lives between Cambridge and Qatar, presents through an expertly-paced narrative the largely untold story of 16th Century Portuguese nobleman Fernao Lopes. A Muslim convert who jumped ship en route from Goa to his native Portugal, Lopes made the newly-discovered island of St Helena his home in almost total isolation for 30 years. 

Based on entirely new research, the book is at once a historical narrative, a meditation on solitude, remoteness and the soul’s inward journey, and a short history-cum-travelogue of the fascinating island of St Helena. 

Webber 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.’

Azzam says ‘This book is a labour of love and I’m delighted that it will be brought to market by Icon Books, who I know will publish it with verve and enthusiasm. I’m already enjoying working with Tom and I’m very much looking forward to doing the same with the rest of the team there.’

 Icon will publish as a £20 Royal hardback, and as an ebook, in June 2017.