Abdul Aziz al Mahmoud’s Arabic book Al Qursan about Piracy in the Gulf in the early part of the nineteenth century has already become a best seller in the Arab world as it re-examines England’s attempts to quash the pirates from an Arab perspective. Now translated into English it was recently released as The Corsair in paperback worldwide.
It’s the early part of the nineteenth century and the Arabian Peninsula and the waters surrounding it are ablaze. Piracy in the Gulf threatens global maritime trade routes while the Wahabbi strain of Islam is conquering followers town by town across the region. Britain, eager to reinforce its presence in the Middle East and protect the East India Company’s ships, has a plan: send a man-of-war from England to quash the pirates while persuading Egypt to join an international alliance with Oman and Persia to fight the Wahabbis. At the center of it all lies a priceless Indian sword, a gift from the British monarch to the Egyptian Pasha.