Icon Books is to publish historical adventure story, The Other Exile: The Remarkable Story of Fernão Lopes, the Island of St Helena and a Paradise Lost, the tale of a "real-life Robinson Crusoe" and his total retreat from human society.
The book by Abdul Rahman Azzam is based on "entirely new research" and is at once "a historical narrative, a meditation on solitude, remoteness and the soul’s inward journey, and a short history-cum-travelogue of the fascinating island of St. Helena".
Azzam presents the "largely untold" story of 16th Century Portuguese nobleman Fernão Lopes, a Muslim convert who jumped ship en route from Goa to his native Portugal and made the newly-discovered island of St Helena his home in almost total isolation for 30 years.
Azzam said: "This book is a labour of love and I’m delighted that it will be brought to market by Icon Books, who I know will publish it with verve and enthusiasm. I’m already enjoying working with Tom and I’m very much looking forward to doing the same with the rest of the team there."
Tom Webber, commissioning editor at Icon Books, bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to The Other Exile from Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann.
Webber said: "The extraordinary story of Fernão Lopes immediately captures the imagination, and Abdul Rahman Azzam’s careful and lyrical narrative voice is perfectly suited to telling it. Lopes lived a life of amazing contrasts, and his remarkable journey from adventurer to desert-island dwelling hermit is a fascinatingly resonant one of a longing for peace and self-knowledge that has instant appeal."
Icon will publish The Other Exile as a £20 royal hardback and as an e-book in June 2017.