Near the year 3000 BC, seven-year-old Abdullah ben Rashad Barakah, a nomad from the western deserts, walks through the gates of a city for the first time in his life. He and his family have arrived in Uruk, the greatest of the Sumerian city-states. At the age of nine, Abdullah discovers the newly invented craft of writing. After years of training, he becomes a scribe, the source of his well-being in every Golden Age.
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In Egypt he assists a tax-collector. In Jerusalem he handles the accounts for Solomon's new palace. In Rome he write skits for banquets. Later he is a librarian, professor of rhetoric, and playwright. And in every Golden Age, family members come to him when trouble and conflicts arise, as they so often do.
Ten diverse Golden Ages, gilded by a fascinating variety of customs, mores and taboos, trades and religions, traditions and temptations to cunningly beguile the scribe's lively, growing family.The Scribe's Family dramatizes the unchanging character of human nature – that the passions which engulfed ordinary people five-thousand years ago still do.