Author: Ismail Kadare
Translator: David Bellos
Original language: French
Published by: Canongate, 2008
In the early fifteenth century, as winter falls away, the people of Albania know that their fate is sealed. They have refused to negotiate with the Ottoman Empire, and war is now inevitable.
Soon enough dust kicked up by Turkish horses is spotted from a citadel. Brightly coloured banners, hastily constructed minarets and tens of thousands of men fill the plain below. From this moment on, the world is waiting to hear that the fortress has fallen.
The Siege tells the enthralling story of the weeks and months that follow - of the exhilaration and despair of the battlefield, the constantly shifting strategies of war, and those whose lives are held in balance, from the Pasha himself to the technicians, artillerymen, astrologer, blind poet and harem of women that accompany him.
Brilliantly vivid, as insightful as it is compelling, The Siege is an unforgettable account of the clash of two great civilisations. As a portrait of war, it resonates across the centuries and confirms Ismail Kadare as one of our most significant writers.