Othman al-Sheikh is running away from the shadows of his past life in a smalldusty village in the Libyan Desert. Tripoli, meanwhile, is a city in the process oftransformation, moulded to the will of its Italian colonisers. Its decadent entertainmentsand extravagant riches conceal an underbelly of abject poverty and ruthless plotting.Othman falls for the city and its temptations. With a natural instinct for survival, he trieshis luck in the capital, swept along by chance and opportunity.Set in the early 1930s, Maps of the Soul immerses the reader in a different Libya, acountry emerging from fierce resistance wars and presided over by the charismaticcolonialist Italo Balbo with his dreams of a new Rome on the Fourth Shore, thecrowning glory of the fascist dream. Against this backdrop, the story unfolds, one ofpainful survival in the face of defeated dreams. This volume contains the first threebooks of Fagih's monumental twelve part work, ending as Othman finally leaves Tripolibehind, a city at the mercy of political wrangling and war.