The Ruby in Her Navel
In twelfth-century Norman Sicily, King Roger presides over Palermo in the aftermath of the Second Crusade. For the time being, Latins and Greeks, Arabs and Jews are living together in uneasy harmony. Within this milieu, young Thurstan Beauchamp serves faithfully as a civil servant of the king, his daily environment filled with tiny accountings, schemes, machinations, and bribes. When he is dispatched to investigate a conspiracy against the king, he will find his loyalties tested--and, when he encounters both his childhood sweetheart and a seductive dancer, his heart torn. An extraordinary tale of ambition, politics, and the loss of innocence, set against the glittering backdrop of medieval Europe, The Ruby in Her Navel powerfully traces the clash of civilizations from its historical origins, with deep resonances for today.