Ascension to Death is a heartbreaking love story set against the backdrop of a conservative Druze region of southern Syria. It recounts the story of an orphan girl named Salma who falls in love with a boy from her village but is forced into an arranged marriage. Salma’s fate is controlled by her tyrannical guardian uncle, a powerful community leader with connections to the government, who is only too pleased to unload the burden of his brother’s daughter onto the first man to propose.
A romantic tragedy, the novel follows Salma’s attempt to escape with her lover, her family’s collusion with the authorities against her and her anguishing ordeal of imprisonment, torture and abandonment.
Dark, challenging and inventive, Ascension to Death is one of Syria’s most beloved novels of the 20th century. Originally published in 1987, and adapted into an acclaimed film in 1995, it is the first work of Mamdouh Azzam to be published in English.