The Apothecary

The Apothecary

Publisher : Scott Publishing; Illustrated edition (1 April 2019)
Language : English
Paperback : 322 pages
ISBN-10 : 099558348X
ISBN-13 : 978-0995583481
Dimensions : 13.34 x 1.85 x 20.32 cm

In the first novel in a new historical series set in Moorish Spain, Joan Fallon sets the action in the busy medieval port of Málaga.

In Book One of the The City of Dreams trilogy, we meet once more the family whose fortunes we followed in the al-Andalus series. Having made a miraculous escape from the besieged city of Córdoba, Makoud, now a middle-aged man, decides to head for Málaga with his family, looking to make a new life for themselves.

So this is the turbulent city where Makoud and his family find themselves. At first life is good. Makoud opens his own apothecary shop and his sons find work.

But when the caliph dies and rumours suggest that he has been poisoned, Makoud becomes worried that he may have sold the poison to the assassin.

His son, Umar, now a soldier in the khalifa’s army, decides to investigate but he underestimates the power of the people behind the assassination, and instead he finds himself arrested and accused of murder.

His father, family and friends pool all their resources to try to help him but the closer they get to the truth, the greater the danger they are all in.

All Joan Fallon’s books are available from in both paperback and Kindle format.

Also available from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and other bookshops

The road to Malaqah was long and dusty but she hardly noticed it; her heart was too full. At first she had believed Baba when he said that leaving Ardales was a good thing for her and the children, but now all she could think was that with every step she was moving further away from her beloved. She hoisted the baby onto her other shoulder, kissing his cheek absent-mindedly as she did so.
Maryam tugged at her skirt and whispered, ‘Mama, when will we get there? I’m tired.’
‘Soon, my little one. Soon.’
‘Here, child, come and have a ride on the donkey,’ said Makoud, taking his granddaughter’s hand and swinging her onto its back.
Her father was smiling and looked happy to be on his way at last. Baba had been impatient to leave, but they had to wait out the period of mourning; by law Aisha should have remained in her mother-in-law’s house until iddah was finished—four months and ten days—but the imam had allowed her to go back to her father because of the contagion. They had burnt all the bedding and most of the clothes that were in her mother-in-law’s house—those had been Qasim’s instructions. More people would have died if it hadn’t been for his intervention; he set up a system of quarantine. He said it was the only way to stop the disease spreading. All the families who had the sickness in their houses were forbidden to go to the communal well, to the market and the mosque; instead people would take food and water to them and leave it outside their houses. The schools were closed and most people stayed within their own homes, frightened of infection. Aisha hadn’t seen her parents for months, not until the dead had been buried and she’d been declared well and not contagious. Now all she had were her widow’s robes: a white djubba, a veil, a grey djellaba and her wedding dress—she couldn’t bring herself to burn it. But none of that mattered now. She tried to stop thinking about Daud; tried to remove those last images of him as she’d washed his emaciated body, closed his eyes and lips—lips that had once tasted so sweet—and wrapped him in his shroud. He now lay in the cemetery in a shallow grave so that he could continue to hear the imam calling the faithful to prayer, surrounded by the friends and family who’d suffered the same fate. She bit her lip in anguish; she should be there with him, not crossing the country in order to start a new life.
‘What is it, daughter?’ asked Abal, her mother. ‘Why so sad?’
‘It’s nothing, Mama.’
‘Would you like me to carry the baby for a while?’
Aisha gratefully handed little Imran to his grandmother. Her back ached. She stopped a moment to sit on a rock and remove a stone from her sandal. She must force herself to stop thinking of the past; she would never be able to move forward unless she did so. If this was to be a new beginning then she must put her children first and think of the future.


“Umar himself is a beautifully created character, as are all the characters – I was eager to keep reading to find out not just ‘what happened next’, but to be there with these characters, to discover what happened to them, personally as they very quickly became my fictional friends. Ms Fallon’s research is impeccable, with the language and atmosphere of the place and period as excellently achieved as her well-paced plot.
This is the first of a new series for Ms Fallon. I look forward to the next…”

“Best selling author Joan Fallon never disappoints! If you like historical fiction based on facts then this is for you. If, in addition, you are familiar with the south coast of Spain this book is a must. The story takes us far back to the times of Moorish Spain and the political intrigues surrounding the death of the Khalifa. It is clear that the research has been thorough and the language carefully crafted, enhancing the atmosphere and the mood. As a result, the reader is quickly immersed into those colourful times. The characters are realistic and lively and will remain with the reader long after the end of the book.”


You can now find audiobook versions of some of Joan’s novels.
They are available from many distributors, including:

The Prisoner

The Prisoner is a fast moving story of adventure, murder and romance set in the exotic and vibrant 11th century city of Málaga. Book 3 in The City of Dreams

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The Pirate

Set in 11th century Málaga, ‘The Pirate’ is the second book in The City of Dreams trilogy. This fast moving and exciting historical novel takes the reader into the medieval

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