Not since Salmon Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses has a literary work caused such turmoil as The Jewel Of Medina. Jewel is a historical novel, a work of ‘faction’ about the Prophet Mohammad’s child bride Aisha. I have not yet read the book, but from the excepts I have seen the part that has our Islamic brethren with a knot in their panties is a rather flowery passage describing the consummation of the marriage. Quite honestly it is not as steamy as as what can be found in the average Harlequin novel that your grandmother reads.

The Jewel though has riled up the extremists and last weekend the home of Martin Rynja, who is the British distributor of the book had his home in London firebombed by three Islamic extremists. Luckily no one was hurt in the incident as Rynja had been forewarned of the attack by the intelligence services. This has resulted in Alan Jessop, the managing director of Compass, the external sales team for Gibson Square Publishing, saying that as a result of the attack the book is now in “suspended animation”. It has also resulted in Gibson’s owner Martin Rynja going into hiding, and for now the Gibson premises remain closed.

What is surprising is the distinct lack of hard information about this attack. If I was a gambling man I would say that the Brit Intelligence Services are trying to keep a lid on the details at this stage.

I have contacted Eric Kampmann CEO of Beaufort Books, the US based, and primary publisher, and as of right now, the book is still slated for an Oct/15 release. He has also agreed to an interview, maybe he can shed some light on what exactly happened on the other side of ‘the pond’. He also commented that Beaufort were being extra vigilant at this time.

Simon Barrett

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