Book cover for The Abyssinian

The Abyssinian



10 November 2000
432 pages
Imprint: Picador


Set in 1700, towards the end of the reign of Louis XIV, it follows the fortunes of a brave apothecary, a talented but unofficial doctor, who is talked into leading an embassy from Cairo to Ethiopia . . . Rufin maintains a perfect balance between impatient detachment and compassionate curiosity. The Abyssinian, like Thackeray's Vanity Fair, carries the weight of history with good-humoured finesse
An ambitious first novel, dashing, abundant and, when necessary, vividly theatrical
[A] remarkably assured first novel . . . Rufin’s writing is elegantly readable
It is old-fashioned enough to be delightful, and new enough to be moving