Historical Fiction


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    Guirguis the Torchbearer

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    This historical fiction novel describes the life of the Coptic Christians a century after the Arab conquest of Egypt. It is being published posthumously, from the Egyptian author Iris Habib El-Masry (1910–1994), known for her “Story of the Coptic Church,” the first comprehensive book on Coptic history that follows a modern historical approach. This novel follows Guirguis, the protagonist of this novel, who was commanded by his brother to be a “torchbearer” in the community he lived in, thus fulfilling Christ’s commandment to be a “light unto the world.” The setting of this novel, as well as the historical circumstances, are based on real facts. Guirguis lived in eighth-century Egypt, during the reign of the ruthless Muslim Caliph, Marwan II of Umayyad (reigned from 744-750). Although very little is known and said about eighth-century Egypt, especially about the Copts who lived during that dark time, El-Masry brilliantly portrays all of the monumental scenes and brings to life names that would have long been forgotten in history.