The book has just been released in the United States by Beaufort Books, seemingly because, in light of the firebombing, they figured it might be a good idea for more than a handful of people to have read the book, as Beaufort's president, Eric Kampmann, explained:
"We felt that... it was better for everybody... to let the conversation switch from a conversation about terrorists and fearful publishers to a conversation about the merits of the book itself."Reports say the British release is "in limbo", but with the book now out in the US reviews are already appearing. The LA Times seem to have got in there first, and here's what they have to say:
"The Jewel of Medina is a second-rate bodice ripper or, rather, a second-rate bodice ripper-style romance (it doesn't really have sex scenes). It's readable enough, but it suffers from large swaths of purple prose. "So, worth all the fuss then?
Update: Read what Ayaan Hirsi Ali, herself a victim of extremist outrage, has to say about the Jewel of Medina controversy. Since the book came out she's been reading it quickly and has "barely found a trace" of anything that could be considered offensive to Muslims. She applauds publishers for their bravery in stepping up and publishing the book, but she's not impressed with Jones' "poorly written" effort:
"Ms Jones does not condemn Mohammed for having sex with Aisha at the age of nine. The sex scene is not described graphically and its conclusion for Aisha is described by Ms Jones as something Aisha always wanted. All the behavior considered immoral and misogynistic in the modern day Western attitudes that offends Muslims are repeated in the novel and affirmed. Rather than being a challenge to Islam, The Jewel of Medina is a pro-Islamic, Pro-Mohammed novel and could easily serve as propaganda material for any Muslim organization promoting the idea that Muslim women must not only accept the position that Islam ascribes to them but should also view that inferior position as a gift from God."