In The Caliph’s Favorite, author Naava Mashiah sets her work of historical
fi ction in Andalusia, Spain, during the Muslim Caliphate of Abd al Rahman III at
Medina al Zahra. The Caliph ruled with his vizier, Hasdai Ibn Shaprut, a devout
Jew, by his side. In Cordoba’s atmosphere of peaceful-coexistence, Muslims,
Jews, and Christians lived, worked, and worshipped in a climate of mutual
respect. Sadly, human nature is not perfect, and such harmony is not sustainable.
Still, precious lessons can be learned from both its ascent and its demise.
The Caliph’s Favorite provides a lyrically-framed window on a halcyon place
during a halcyon time. As with all things human, greed, lust, and suspicion
insinuate themselves into the careful balance. Still, in Andalusia, for one golden
moment, the best in humanity came to the fore.
Mashiah’s extensively-researched, emotionally resonant novel offers in sights
into the glorious possibility of societal, cultural, and religious co-existence,
while also revealing the dark, secret histories that unravel the best of human