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Saddam’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ Inspired Book Gets An English Publisher

The English translation of Saddam Hussein’s last book seems to be inspired by The Game of Thrones and House Of Cards

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Saddam Hussein’s last book is a cross between <i>Game of Thrones</i> and <i>House of Cards</i>. (Photo: Reuters/Altered by <b>The Quint)</b>

Saddam Hussein, the fascist who ruled Iraq for over two decades, also took time out to write three novels in his lifetime. His last book is being translated into English for the very first time by UK’s Hesperus Press, as a way to mark his 10th death anniversary in December 2016.

The untitled piece of fiction is being described in publishing circuits as a cross between HBO’s hugely popular periodic drama The Game of Thrones, and Netflix’s shrewd American political series, House of Cards. Saddam’s book is reported to have been completed right before the American troops invaded Iraq in 2003.

The New York Times thought his ‘ancient tribe fights oppressive invader’ fiction to be “a forgettable piece of pulp” in 2005.

The Chinese translation of Saddam Hussein’s last piece of fiction. (Photo courtesy: <a href="https://twitter.com/sinisakosic/status/753369956423602177">Twitter/@sinisakosic</a>)
The Chinese translation of Saddam Hussein’s last piece of fiction. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/@sinisakosic)
The unpublished novel Get Out, You Damned One will not win any literary awards. A forgettable piece of pulp, it features a scheming traitor, an invading army of Zionist-Christian infidels and an Arab liberator. The only thing that sets the novel apart from numerous others like it in Arab bookstores is its author, Saddam Hussein.
The New York Times

It begins with the narrator, who has been fashioned along the lines of Abraham warning his grandsons of Satan’s hold over Babylon.

The story tells of Ezekiel, a greedy schemer who plots to overthrow the sheik of a tribe with the help of a powerful enemy aiming to conquer and annihilate all Arabs but is ultimately defeated by the sheik’s daughter with the help of an Arab warrior. This is viewed as a metaphor for a Zionist-Christian plot against Arabs and Muslims. “Only those who refuse his nation and are faithful to God can be victorious,” the narrator warns of Satan, the superpower.
New York Times review
Saddam Hussein was arrested in 2003 and executed in 2006 by Iraqi authorities. (Photo: Reuters)
Saddam Hussein was arrested in 2003 and executed in 2006 by Iraqi authorities. (Photo: Reuters)

Saddam, who was captured by American troops in 2003, and later executed in 2006 by Iraqi authorities, wrote this 186 page novella before his arrest and it has already been published in Arabic, Turkish Japanese and other languages by the titles Get Out, You Damned One, Begone Demons, & Devil’s Dance (translations).

Whether he penned these books himself or a ghostwriter has been at work for the dictator is still unclear. But in the Arab world, where reading and writing skills are held in high regard, Saddam’s books add to his aura.

The Guardian reviewed his first book Zabibah and the King as a “poorly structured piece of fiction with a whiff of dictatorial authenticity”. His next works, The Fortified Castle (2001) and a thinly-disguised autobiographical novel Men and the City (2002), also written under the pen name ‘The Author’, were included in the Iraqi school syllabus before the war began in 2003.

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The Guardian review compares the book’s archaic backdrop of the clash between tribes, to modern day relations between US and Israel.

The Game of Thrones connection is the mixture of warfare with a historical setting, as the book centres on a long-ago tribe living on the banks of the Euphrates, that suffers an invasion; while the political element sees an Arab nobleman taking on enemies clearly representing the US and Israel (two towers figure prominently, seemingly symbolising the World Trade Centre).
The Guardian

The Hesperus spokesperson told The Guardian that despite the book being controversial, the publishing house remains politically neutral.

We said we wanted to come back with something interesting. This is the way we wanted to go ahead … and it is topical, very ‘de jour’, with the Chilcot inquiry and the 10th anniversary coming up. We were concerned that some of the writers would not be comfortable to be associated with Hesperus once we published this book, but we’re politically neutral. We only publish what we find interesting.
Spokesperson, Hesperus

While we wait for public opinion on Saddam’s last piece of fiction, one can’t help feel intrigued about its comparison with the blood and gore of The Game Of Thrones, and the political scheming of House of Cards.

Source: The New York Times, Guardian, Guardian

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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