Saddam Hussein was many things: revolutionary, president, dictator, despot.
One thing you’d probably never describe Hussein as, however, was romantic. Or at least that was what most people thought.
As it turns out, Saddam was actually a bit of a softie when it came to romance literature. So much so, in fact, that he actually went and wrote his very own novel on the topic.
Zabib and the King is described as an “allegorical love story set thousands of years ago” according to the book’s official Amazon listing.
It tells the story of a love affair between an Iraqi King and a humble villager by the name of Zabiba. Now, loaded is going to out on a limb here and assume that the Iraqi king is based on Saddam – call us crazy, but it just seems like something he would do.
In any case, the ensuing story sounds like an absolute hoot: during Zabiba’s nightly visits to the king’s residence the pair discuss everything from religion and love to nationalism and the will of the people.
You know, it’s almost like Saddam is using this book to get a few things off his chest.
That is if he actually wrote the book himself: there have long been rumours that a ghost writer was actually employed to pen the tome. Given how badly written it is, however, you’d have to question such claims though.
In one utterly bizarre section, the novel describes a spot of bestiality, where a man ends up having sex with a bear (apparently it is meant to represent Russia and Iraq. Whatever you say Saddam.)
Zahiba and The King debuted to great reviews in Iraq though. Well, not great reviews. More like no reviews. Anyone who gave it a crap review was likely to land themselves in a lot of trouble.
While the book piqued the interest of the CIA, it failed to capture the imagination of the world and has gone largely ignored until now.
The good news is that it’s available to purchase today, from the US, for just over $13 (roughly £9.99).
It’s not money well spent, but then again what is?