Maryam al Qartayanni: The Long Road to Paris
One girl's journey through the splendour and the squalor of medieval Spain and France.
Since she was a child in the Moorish south of Spain, swimming in the sea, learning to dance with her grandmother, and studying all kinds of arcane subjects with her "uncle" Rabbi Yacoub, Maryam always dreamt of going to Paris and continuing her studies at the great university there. But when she was fourteen, her father, a Scot in exile, died, and, left without protection, she was sold into slavery.
Now seventeen, she is dancing for her master and his guest. That is normal, but today the guest is the renowned historian Abdelrahman ibn Khaldoun and only Maryam is aware that her mistress plans to poison him ...
From "little mermaid" in the Mar Menor near Cartagena (Qartayanni) via Avignon, where she is once again branded a fugitive (this time by both Church and State), to student in Paris where she will have to pretend to be a boy as women are not permitted to attend lectures, this is Maryam al Qartayanni's journey through the splendour and the squalor, the humanity and the brutality, of 14th-century Spain and France.
Published: 28 April 2015