Mondays, in the past few weeks, always find me in a tight spot. I can’t figure out in good time what to do with the twenty-four hours that’s totally mine. However, I guess today is extraordinary as I have an automatically laid down plan. After completing Papatia Feauxzar’s most recent book, “The Ducktrinors, (Hanifa) Book one”, the night before, the review was automatically my next line of action. And here I am.
Prior to reading this intriguing and adventurous young adult science fiction, I had read quite a number of Islamic fictions. But I must confess that this one is one of a kind. When I picked up the book for the first time, the first thing I did which is my usual tradition with books was to read the brief summary on the back cover. I could relate with the first few lines of it until I got to the point where the main protagonist wants to find the people of the cave and fight alongside with them, Jesus Christ and Mahdi with the vouching cloud. This threw me off balance and increased my thirst for discovery. And so I began travelling with the characters with each breathtaking line carrying me to an unknown destination.
THE DUCKTRINORS “HANIFA” BOOK ONE is one part of a series that tells the story of a courageous and ambitious nineteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a period when the seculars under a centralized world government have completely taken over a highly technologically driven world. Practising her faith becomes almost impossible as even the slightest manifestation of religiosity is punishable with death. In the face of persecution, mass murder, unbridled moral decadence and unlimited intrusion of privacy, Hanifa stands up against all odds to fight in the cause of Islam in opposition to the seculars. This, she tactically achieves by joining the secular army where she builds a strong sub-team of two hundred Muslim and non–Muslim “SECULAR ELITES” who subsequently form an alliance with her in declaring war on the seculars. She sees this as a great opportunity to fulfill her childhood aspirations of leading an expedition to tarsus in turkey in order to find the people of the cave whose story had been narrated in the Qur’an and who had been predicted to fight alongside Jesus during the second coming against Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog) at the end of the world.
Hanifa, against the will of her parents, gains support from two of her siblings, Malik and Shafiya as well as her grandfather, Mustapha Kreedor, who was once a leader of the rebellion. She is also aided by an eleven-year-old orphan boy, Dawud, whose technological inventions surpass those of the seculars as well as her eighteen-year-old school friend, Ana, who is a secret agent of the seculars due to circumstances beyond her control. But how far can a girl who is under the trail of the secular army go in achieving her goals? Is she ever going to win the battle and lead the expedition to turkey?
As I turn each page, a myriad of puzzlement begins to unfold. I begin to wonder what time of the world it is; definitely not the present. The technology surpasses the present moment with devices like the mechanical horses, auto-piloted super speed shuttles, robotic janitors, computer chalkboard teachers, the shadow hunter, the clone army, the x-machinas, the teleporters, the airship house, levitating shoe matchboxes and a countless number of other unimaginable digital creations, most of which are used by the rebellion in the mission against the seculars and vice versa. The mere fact that modern pop – star personalities like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry were referred to as Ancient pop stars also alludes to the fact that the timing of the story is far into the future. In the book, the world is divided into five continents; Eurasia, Australia, Antarctica, Africa and the Americas. This reminds me of George Lucas’ “star wars” and a host of other mystical scientific young adult books. It also takes my mind back to George Orwell’s novel, “Nineteen eighty-four” where the world is divided into three and ruled by the big brother who is openly watching every single move of even the most insignificant person through a network of hidden cameras.
The book corrected some misogynistic misconceptions of Islam considering the fact that Hanifa, a Muslim girl was the commander of the rebellion army. This casts my mind back to the historic stories of female Muslim personalities like “Umm Ammaarah Nusaybah bint Ka’ab”, Khawlah the black knight and a host of others who fought valiantly in battles during and after the lifetime of the Prophet (SAW). I also love the fact that the author depicted the Islamic ethics of the battlefield jihad to the effect that war is only a defensive strategy waged only against the attacking party and not the innocent majority. This is to set right the mistaken belief that Muslims are bloodthirsty human beings. Most importantly, the book portrays how a slight division amongst Muslims can spell doom for the ummah, which is evident when Kreedor tells the story of how the coup d’etat failed because the various Muslim factions that made up the rebellion had a lot of selfish motives.
“THE DUCKTRINORS” combines two powerful genres; the school story and the scientific fantasy. And to a great extent, the author depicts reality by demonstrating an advanced version of the occurrences of this present time. I must confess that I really enjoyed reading this book. This is definitely a keeper for the pleasure of my adventure – thirsty children. I highly recommend this “must-read” for every teenager, young adult and adult alike. I must say that this is the very first attempt at producing an intriguing Islamic science fiction as the book spells utter creativity and ingenuity. I won’t be surprised to see a motion picture of it in future.