Samarkand describes Persia's culture and political history as it follows the journey of The Rubaiyyat by Omar Khayyam. The story is told in two parts. First, The Rubaiyyat is born of Khayyam and witnesses the turmoil of that time. Then, it becomes Benjamin Lesage's raison d'etre in the 20th century, and he follows it into still-struggling nation.
The former part of the story is enchanting and rich. It describes the troubled relationships between major power players and Khayyam. Khayyam has a love interest with Jaladan. The second part seems overly factual. The narrator was not as compelling, nor was the love story.
Overall, a great read that sucked me in and taught me about Samarkand and its struggles.