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Only the Dead

A Levantine Tragedy

Published by Interlink Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Only the Dead is part adventure story and part exploration of the moral complexities arising from war, brutality, and the desire for revenge.

As old Vartan sits reading mystical Persian poetry among the dust and disintegration of war-torn Beirut, the fluted pillars of his decaying house weathered in shadows, his thoughts wander back, inevitably, to another conflict, many years before…

Only the Dead is the story of Vartan Nakashian, a young Armenian from Aleppo caught in the midst of a world war that is proving catastrophic for his people. We follow his journey of love, espionage, tragedy, betrayal, and revenge across the tumultuous Levant of 1915-1918, as the crucible of war and genocide makes a man of the boy we first encountered. Now advanced in years, Vartan ruminates on life, loss, guilt, and the many adventures and horrors of his youth, seeing them mirrored in the fresh catastrophe of the Lebanese Civil War.

This novel—based in part on a real man, a true story—is about the struggle to reconcile conflicting loyalties and affections, the desire for revenge, the search for atonement, and poetry’s power to make sense of the human condition.

About The Author

T.J. Gorton is the author of six books, including the highly-acclaimed Renaissance Emir: A Druze Warlord at the Court of the Medici. He studied Arabic in Beirut and Oxford before becoming a lecturer in Arabic studies at St. Andrews. He lives with his Lebanese archaeologist wife between London and South West France.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Interlink Books (October 4, 2022)
  • Length: 278 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781623718213

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Raves and Reviews

In this brief and lively biography, Gorton demystifies Fakhr ad-Din ibn Ma’n, an enigmatic 17th-century leader of his equally enigmatic sect, the Druze.

– Publishers Weekly

T.J. Gorton’s moving and deftly tale draws inspiration for today from the ashes of family history, the horrors of war, and the consolation of poetry.

– Barnaby Rogerson

Tragic and poignant, this novel is also a gripping adventure story. It enables the reader to empathize with a young man in the Middle East of a century ago who lived in a disturbing world that still seems familiar today.

– John McHugo

T.J. Gorton’s main aim is to tell an extraordinary story, and he does so with great enthusiasm and sympathy.

– Literary Review

An original and informative book which will go a long way to redressing its subject’s undeserved obscurity.

– Times Literary Supplement

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