Ismail is a thief who dreams of being a poet. He is drawn to Baghdad, the capital of the world, and on its turbulent streets falls in with the notorious poet Abu Nuwas: the Father of Locks. Ismail's new master is not only a decadent drunkard, but also a reluctant agent of the scheming Wazir, who now assigns them to investigate reports that the Devil is stalking the city. Together the poet and the thief encounter a hidden world, of forbidden cults, foreign spies, and a mysterious Brass Bottle. When children start to disappear, it seems that there must be substance to the dark rumours of evil spirits and human sacrifice that haunt the city; but the secrets that Ismail and the Father of Locks uncover are more shocking still.

The Father of Locks unveils the historical truth behind the Arabian Nights tales, proving that reality can be more fabulous than fantasy. It is a whirlwind journey through the poetry, politics and passions of Harun al-Rashid's Baghdad, as well as being an exotic, enthralling adventure.

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