Sidi is dying.
In the last days of this all-powerful tyrant, his faithful court fool takes stock of the decades he has spent in the king's service. For the many years have left certain indelible wounds.
During his service, the fool has been the king's closest counsel, his most trusted companion and adviser, privy to the king's deepest secrets and most intimate thoughts. It is an honoured position for which many other courtiers would pay a hefty price. Something the fool understands only too well, for this closeness has indeed come at a terrible cost.
What price the confidence of a great king? Is it stories, jokes, witty repartee? Or does the debt fall closer to home? Perhaps it must be paid far from the magnificent palaces, feasting and festivities of the royal court. Perhaps it must be paid in the death jails of a formidable prison fortress far out in the desert; a place so feared that few dare to speak its name . . .
Translated from the French by Ben Faccini