The Spartan Court
The Spartan Court follows the interconnected lives of five characters in Algiers from 1815 to 1833. The first is a French journalist covering the colonial campaign against Algeria and the second, a former soldier in Napoleon’s army, first finds himself a prisoner in the city and then a planner for the campaign. The other three Algerian characters have different attitudes to the Ottoman and French colonial powers. Ibn Mayyar thinks that politics is a means of building relationships with the Ottomans and even the French, whilst Hamma al-Salawi believes that revolution is the only means of achieving change. The fifth character, Douja, is suspended somewhere between all these: she witnesses the transformation of Algiers helplessly and is forced to become part of this changing world. For one must live according to the city’s rules, or one must leave.