Andalucia brings to mind balmy evenings with the scent of oranges in the air, the sounds of flamenco guitar, and the exotic architecture of the Moorish Alhambra.
In this podcast interview, I talk to David Penny, author of The Thomas Berrington Historical Mysteries, which are set in medieval Spain.
You can listen above or on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.
- The inspiration for David’s detective novels set in Moorish Spain
- Writing about an ancient place from modern time
- Weaving religion into historical fiction
- Finding an authentic flamenco experience in Spain
- Recommendations for local food and drink
- Getting used to local customs, like shop closure times
- Adjusting to the slower pace of life in Spain
You can find David Penny at DavidPennyWriting.com and on Twitter @davidpenny_
Transcript of Interview with David Penny
Joanna: David Penny is the author of The Thomas Berrington Historical Mysteries, set in Moorish Spain. Today, we’re talking about how his love of Spain features in his books. Welcome, David.
David: Hi Joanna. Thank you for having me.
Joanna: It’s great to have you on the show.
First up, where are you in the world right now? And what is outside your window?
David: I am actually in Spain at the moment. A couple of years ago we bought a small house in Spain. So, we come out here when the weather in England is too bad.
At the moment outside my window is lots of olive groves, almonds just coming into blossom, and it’s about 19 degrees C.
Joanna: That’s very pleasant. I’m in England, and, of course, it’s a bit chilly right now, but that’s awesome.
Tell us a bit more about how you fell in love with Spain, because you’re obviously British. Why did you decide to set your books there?
David: Spain was a very late discovery for me. I visited the Alhambra at 16 years old, on a school trip, and I think we had three days or three afternoons when we actually got off the boat, which was not much fun. I distinctly remember travelling in a coach through what, at the time, looked like desert landscape for hours, and we got to the Alhambra Palace.
I do have pictures of it, and I do vaguely remember it. But my abiding memory of that trip is, you could go into a bar when you were 16 years old, and 15, and you’d order a beer, and they’d serve you. And it was brilliant.
David: But then we never visited Spain for another 40 years. And, in fact, the ideas for the books I write came before we came back to Spain.
I’m not sure what was happening. I was sitting at home with the kids and my wife, and for some reason, I said, ‘Do you think anybody’s ever written a detective novel set at the end of Moorish Spain?’ And they gave me this weird look, and they said, ‘Why?’
I said, ‘Well, I just got an idea for a 10-book series, and it seems like a nice idea. Somebody must have come up with it before.’ I took a look around, and nobody has. I couldn’t believe it because it is such a fascinating period in history and such an amazing place to write about. So that was the initial idea.
I thought about it a little bit more, and then we booked a flight and we came out. And I think we spent a week, maybe a little longer in Spain, in Barcelona, and Granada, and Córdoba, and visited the Alhambra. And I thought, ‘This is going to work.’
That’s where it came from really. And the love of Spain was almost immediately as a result of that. We’d done Italy and France and the usual places, and Spain just combined everything I liked about Europe in one place.
The longer I’m here, the more and more we fall in love with it. It’s just such a great place. It’s just such great people and their fantastic culture. Even though strangely, the Spanish don’t particularly appreciate the Moorish culture that is all around them down here in the south.
Joanna: Give us some ideas of what that Moorish culture actually is. Talk about Andalusia.
David: It is Andalusia very much so. My characters don’t stray out of Andalusia at all. Not at the moment anyway, although I do have plans for that in future.
The starting point for the series of books, as well as the starting point for anybody who wants to know what Andalusia is all about, has to be Granada, of course. It was the capital of Islamic al-Andalus from about 1100 AD to 1492, when the Spanish sacked the city.
They walked in, and the then sultan handed over the keys of the palace and disappeared, never to be heard of again. Granada is quite small, quite compact. The bits that you want to visit anyway. The rest of it is just a bit of an industrial city because I think you’ve been as well, haven’t you?
Joanna: You can actually stay centrally and just walk around, can’t you? Although it is quite a long hill up to the Alhambra.
David: It is quite a long hill, and on the other side as well. We were lucky. We found a lady who rented out apartments, and they are literally on the roadway that goes up to the Alhambra. So it’s the two apartments, and you walk out of your front door, and you turn left, and within five minutes you’re at the gates of the Alhambra.
You turn right, and within two minutes you’re in the big square at the bottom, right in the center of the Old City. And you can walk past all the cathedrals, and into all the tiny little alleys, and up onto the Albaicín which is my second favorite place in Granada.
Joanna: That’s where the stone-cut houses in the rock are, isn’t it?
David: Yes. It’s just a jumble, and it’s tiny little alleys. You can’t get cars up most of the places, you have to walk.
At the time I’m writing about, they were two different cities, and for most of the time, they were actually at war with each other. So, some of the reason that the Moors were defeated in Spain has got very little to do with how good the Spanish soldiers were. And more to do with infighting, which is probably typical of most civilizations and the way they end, to be honest.
Granada, you have to do, but learn some of the lessons. We turned up in Granada, and said to Esperanza, ‘We’re going to go up to the Alhambra.’ And she said, ‘Ooh, tsk, tsk, tsk, have you booked?’ And we said, ‘No.’ She said, ‘Oh, well then. You have to book a month in advance at least.’ And we said, ‘Oh damn.’
She said, ‘Unless you have a guided tour.’ So, we logged onto the internet and found the guided tour, and it was about five times the price. And, to be honest, it was worth every penny we paid. He was fantastic. We had an Arabic guide, and he takes you into places that the general public can’t go. But he’s just so knowledgeable about it all, and all the history of it, and what happened, and where things went on.
What I tell people now is if they’ve never been to the Alhambra, do pay for a guide and have them show them around because you get so much more out of it, and it’s amazing. The Alhambra is just an amazing place. It’s obviously a world heritage site, and I think is it one of the wonders of the world or something? I can’t remember. Probably, if it isn’t, it should be.
David: It’s just totally other-worldly. And, the fact that people live there on a day-to-day basis is unbelievable. I’ve had several emails and messages from people who have read my books, and then they’ve written to me, and they said, ‘Oh, they’re so fantastic. We live in Alabama, and we’re flying to Spain next week to go and look at all the places you write about.’
Joanna: I think that’s part of the reason I wanted to have these conversations is because I find myself doing that. And also, I get the same emails about my books.
It’s funny you mentioned the Alhambra. I remember traveling there back when I was probably 18, 19, and sitting in one of those cafés across the valley. You know there’s a few places to sit there looking out. And it does evoke history.
I wanted to ask you about this because you write historical mysteries, and yet you’re writing now. I’m very interested in this idea of seeing a place in time. In Granada, obviously you’re seeing places that have existed over time, but life is very different.
How do you see these different levels of medieval Spain versus modern Spain? How do you research that time shift?
David: The research starts obviously with finding out what life was actually like back then. And in my case, that did give me some problems because a lot of the original texts no longer exist. A lot of the stuff that was written contemporaneously would have been in Arabic, to begin with.
But when the Spanish defeated any particular city, for instance, when they moved into Córdoba in I think 11 something, they destroyed the 3,000 books in the library there. And they were just gone. And the same in Granada when they took the city. A lot of the original texts are gone.
So, you’re relying upon second-, and third-, and fourth-hand records of what’s going on. You start with reading up on the history, on the events, and then making copious, really copious notes. Probably sometimes longer than the actual books that you’ve read.
But then you have to put those into the context of, ‘We obviously don’t know what it was like living in those times, but we can imagine. We can place ourselves in our imagination into those times, and see how we and other people might have reacted to what was going on.’
And, of course, you don’t want to write about times it was easy to live in. You want to write about climactic periods of history, so that the more that is happening, the more you are putting your characters under stress and into danger.
That’s what people want to read about. They don’t want to read about a nice guy, who’s got a family, and nothing ever happens to them. And it just goes on for about a hundred thousand words and then ends.
Joanna: I know what you mean. But it’s interesting. This is also a tumultuous period in history you’re writing on. Since 1492, the expulsion of the Jews; I write a lot about that as well even though I write modern day, but also the way history, the way the Jewish diaspora, for example, based on the expulsion in 1492.
What I find fascinating in Granada is that there are some really gory cathedrals for the Spanish monarchs.
You’re talking about Moorish Spain when it was ruled by Muslims, and modern-day Islam compared to what it was at that point in history, is really interesting. And actually, it was the Christians who were the fundamentalists at the time, right?
Joanna: Destroying everything. That is what is so fascinating about this period in a religious sense.
Are there any places that you like to write about in terms of that religious side?
David: There’s always an element of religion comes into every single one of my books. Even though my main character is a non-believer, like me, you cannot get away from the fact that religion is what ruled that period of time. As you say, even more so on the Spanish side than the Moorish side.
The Moors were Islamic, but they were actually poor Muslims, or they had developed into poor Muslims by the time I’m writing about. They came into Spain in 792 on a tide of wild-Islamic zeal, rode straight through the country. They got far north as Poitiers, I think it must have rained, and they decided they didn’t like it and they withdrew. But that initial religious zeal wore off significantly as time went on.
And the Islam of the 1300s, 1400s, earlier, was a very different thing to the Islam of today. Like you say, it has switched. We hear a lot about Islamic fundamentalism, but I’ve got friends who are Islamic, and they’re not fundamentalists. It’s just part of their religion, part of their day-to-day life.
They do adhere to the strictures of their religion far more than Christians do. There’s a lot of Christians who rarely go to church, whereas most of the Muslims I know, even though they’re not fundamentalists, they do tend to adhere to the prayer times and so on.
But obviously, it is a different period of history, and as you say, Spain was resurgent. What happened during Spain fighting what they consider the Islamic invaders, although they’d been there 800 years, strengthened their fighting priories so much, they became, with obviously Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the Americas, this almost unstoppable fighting force that was also pretty awful.
You’ve only got to look at what they did in a lot of South America and so on to see if that was true. And a lot of that came from the ferocity of the fighting that was going on at the time I’m writing about. The ends of wars are always more interesting than the starts of wars as quite often.
I’m just writing about the last 10 years of that. But I said I had 10 books in mind, when it came to it, initially in that sort of nanosecond. I’m sure you’ve had these moments as well, Jo. You’re sitting there and then, ‘Bam, that would make a book.’
And the initial idea was Christopher Columbus walking into the Alhambra to request the funds to sail across, to discover a route to the Indies. Because what I hadn’t realized when that idea came is that Spain had been stringing him along for about 10 years, and promising him a little bit and then withdrawing it and promising it.
He just got fed up with this. And he was going to go to France and get them to fund him instead. And then they actually turned him down, and he got back as far as the gates of the city and thought, ‘No, this isn’t good enough.’ And went back and persuaded it.
In my vision of that scene, it’s my main character who meets him at the gates and says, ‘No, let’s go back, and I’ll help you get them to give you the funding.’
So, it’s interesting how you can stitch history and fiction together, and that’s what I love doing. And for me, to be honest, it’s the fiction that comes first, and I quite often subsume the history into it. Even though you get it as right as you can.
If it’s a choice for me between, ‘Did this actually happen? Or would I have liked it to happen?’ I tend to go with the, ‘I would have liked it to happen,’ and write about that.
Joanna: Chances are it did happen because we can’t know about history, a lot of these people would not have been written about.
Coming back on places that are really interesting in a religious way. The Mezquita at Córdoba, which, of course, was a mosque and it was turned in a cathedral.
David: They haven’t touched it.
Joanna: I’ve written about it in Gates of Hell.
Have you written about Córdoba and its fascinating history?
David: My second book was set in Córdoba, and there’s a couple of scenes specifically. You can’t go to Córdoba and visit the Mezquita, and not want to write about it because it’s one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been. You just walk through the doors, and you think, ‘Sorry, is this meant to be a cathedral?’
Joanna: Yes. What is this? It’s amazing.
David: It is. It’s just otherworldly, totally. And just imagine what that must’ve been like when people did actually use it as a mosque. That is amazing.
So yeah, my second book is set exclusively in Córdoba, and it talks about that disjointedness between the Mezquita, the interior of it, the way that Spain, the Catholic Church, they’ve just dumped a little altar in the middle of it with a few chairs around it, and that is their attempt to turn it into a Christian Cathedral.
And that’s what they did in all of the mosques when they defeated the Moors. They put a little piece in the middle of them, and then gradually either knock them down. They left most of the Mezquita in place. But they knocked down the mosque in Seville but kept part of it.
I think there’s one corner of the cathedral in Sevilla that is still part of the mosque. And I actually make use of that in a later book as well. It’s fascinating.
There’s always different places, and it’s s kind of a golden triangle really of Granada, Córdoba, and Sevilla. And then maybe include Malaga in one of the corners, and Ronda, of course.
You’ve been to Ronda, Joanna?
Joanna: I haven’t been to Ronda, but it’s an area that I keep coming back to as well. I remember being in Sevilla during one of the fiestas and the marching of all the people, and the dancing, and the bulls and the big religious icons.
Obviously, we’ve talked about the Alhambra and the Mezquita, which are kind of obvious, you have to visit them, but they are kind of obvious places.
Are there any unexpected places, or unexpected aspects of Andalusia that you think people might be surprised or delighted to find out about?
David: I think both, to be honest. Definitely surprised. On my website, I’ve started a blog thread, and it’s called ‘Beyond the Beaches‘.
What originally put us off Spain, and why I didn’t come for years, and years, and years, is this image of Benidorm and the Costas, and lots of sand, and lots of drinking and lots of shouting and fighting on a Saturday night.
Well, the first surprising thing is, it’s not actually like that, not where we are. If we go down to the coast on a Saturday night, to a place called Torre del Mar place which is our nearest seaside it’s just totally and utterly Spanish.
It’s what a Spanish Saturday night is like, which involves lots of drinking, but less fighting. But Beyond the Beaches talks about if you drive even five minutes inland from the Costas, you find a totally different Spain.
It’s a Spain where nobody speaks English. They don’t want to speak English, literally. We have a next-door neighbour we were trying to talk to yesterday because they keep giving us avocados, and lemons, and oranges, and all sorts of things. So, we made them a cake for Christmas. Well for the Three Kings, there is a Three Kings here today, or yesterday, far more important to Christmas.
He doesn’t speak a single word of English, and having conversations is difficult. But around here nobody speaks any English. None of the Spanish people speak English at all. They don’t even think about it. They weren’t raised in it. The kids are taught it, but they tend not to use it.
So, it’s quite a shock because people go down to the coast, and everybody speaks English. Everybody in the bars, in the hotels, and the shops, has some English. You go that 10 minutes inland and that stops happening. And it’s just a totally different land, and it’s also very, very steep.
Our house sits on a hill. To walk the dog, we have to walk out the front door down a really steep hill, and then we have no option but to go up another very steep hill in whichever direction we go.
Joanna: It keeps you fit.
We actually did a walking holiday around there in the Alpujarras, which is near the edge of the Sierra Nevada, and you walk up this incline, through little rocks, and then there’s an olive grove, and like you mentioned when you think of Spain you do think sort of lemons and oranges and olives.
David: Yes. It is sad really because the olives and the almonds, which are natural trees to grow here, because they require very little water, are all being rooted out and replaced by avocados, and melons, and papayas, and things. Because you can’t make money growing olives anymore out here.
And our neighbours just give us lemons and oranges because they get five cents a kilo for them if they try to sell them. So, it’s a shame really. And then how much do you pay for extra virgin olive oil in Tesco’s or something? It’s ridiculous, and out here they’re just giving it away.
Joanna: I guess you’re talking about like some of the expectations of Spain, the beaches, and that type of thing. Also, the things that people think of I guess are bullfighting and flamenco.
Joanna: Now, bullfighting is completely gone, right? Bullfighting is now illegal.
David: No. It’s still legal. I think it’s still legal. Is it Andalusia that’s banned it or not banned it? I can’t remember.
There’s still bullfights in Malaga, so they can’t have banned it. There’s still bullfights in Ronda where the claim is that that’s where it started. But it’s not like it used to be even 10 years ago, and certainly not how it used to be 50 years ago.
Spain is a weird country in that it keeps its traditions. Well, you know what it’s like. The world disapproves, so we’re going to keep on doing it, but there isn’t much bullfighting anymore.
Joanna: I’ve been to that bullring in Malaga, and you’re right. There were young toreadors practising, but it does kind of make you feel sad in one way.
David: It does.
Joanna: Quite sad. But the museum there, it really does make you feel that things have changed.
Coming back to flamenco, because I’ve seen some really, really terrible tourist-related flamenco. And then I remember one night in Sevilla, you know, there was probably some wine involved, and the most incredible flamenco evening, and that sense of duende they call it, don’t they? The soul of a people, and just a very special time.
Any thoughts on flamenco?
David: Funnily enough we were in Malaga on Friday. I’ve bought myself a Spanish guitar to learn some flamenco.
David: Because I didn’t bring one out with me so that’s going to be interesting.
In exactly the same way as you. You tend to find a lot of the tourist-oriented flamenco. Some of it can be very good, but a lot of it is done to a purpose, and it’s just given lip service really. But we’ve had some amazing experiences.
The first time we came to Spain, we were in Granada when we asked our landlady, ‘Where can we go and see some real flamenco?’ And she said, ‘Well if you want to see the real flamenco, you go to this place down at the bottom of the Albaicín.‘
And so, we went, and it was 12 euros for the show, including wine. You’re supposed to get one glass, but somebody must have forgotten that, because there were just bottles getting poured, left, right and centre. And it was in a tiny, little cellar that held about 40 people.
Obviously, they realized we were the suckers, so they sat us in the front row, which means you get spat on [because of the way they sing so passionately]. And that was unbelievable. And the guitarist was middle-aged, the singer was like he’d just come out of the hills 100 years ago. He just walked in with dusty boots and dusty clothes, and really it’s a very otherworldly experience, flamenco, isn’t it?
Joanna: A couple more questions. We’ve mentioned some of the eating and drinking, I do wonder if you could particularly recommend anything.
If people are in the area, any wine they should drink, any particular food they should try. Again, everyone goes oh, paella.
David: No, no, no, no, no…
David: A couple of things in the food line. One is espetos on the beach. Apparently only have them if there’s an R in the month. Espetos is sardines on a skewer.
You go along the beach all around here, anyway, I don’t know if it’s same everywhere, but they have these upturned boats filled with coals, barbecue coals. And they put half a dozen of these sardines on a skewer, stick ’em in the coals, and then five minutes later they take them off, cover them in salt, and stick ’em on a table with some bread and olive oil. And those are absolutely unbelievable.
But the reason you have to have them with an R in the month, is that that’s when they’re local. They do them all year, but outside. So if we went to have some now, they would be imported sardines, and they’re not a patch on the real ones. So, espetos on the beach, definitely.
Any wine, to be honest, in a restaurant, is better than anything you’re going to buy below 20 pounds in a supermarket in England.
Joanna: You mean like table wine?
Joanna: And I would just order whatever the local one is.
David: That’s what we do. But it doesn’t have a name. It’s just the local wine.
You have to be a bit careful because around here they have this very sweet Malaga wine, and, to our taste, it’s almost undrinkable. It’s very, very sweet indeed. So you have to be careful.
First time we met our neighbors, he was drinking from a flagon, this wine, and he offered me some. And I lifted the flagon, and you’re not allowed to drink, touch it, and poured it all down my shirt and he didn’t offer me a second time.
Joanna: Just thinking about tapas, we actually went to one of the best tapas bars that we’d ever been to, in Malaga. And I’m going to have to put the link in the show notes. I can’t remember the name, but we had a mushroom and some asparagus, like just fresh vegetables, done in a simple way. I think really amazing.
[Note from Joanna: It was El Meson de Cervantes, Calle Álamos, 11, 29012 Málaga. Incredible!]
David: If you go to a bigger city, you get some really interesting tapas. But out here it tends to be the same sort of things. You got meatballs, and anchovies, and fish, and pork, and whatever.
But what is amazing is, you go out around here in the small towns, and you order a tapas and a drink. Well, you order a drink, and the tapas comes with it. You don’t have to ask for it. And you go to pay, and you find that it’s a euro for the wine and the tapas.
You can eat for about six euros all night long. But if you come out, people have to go and do the menu del dia, the daily lunchtime menu. It’s a three-course meal with a drink, and it’s eight euros.
Joanna: It’s amazing.
David: But the lifestyle is very different as well. And you have this idea that Spain is different, but you don’t realize how different it is until you have to live here.
In the UK we’re spoiled. You go out, and every day is a day you can go to the shops. In Spain from Saturday lunchtime until Monday, 8 a.m. everything is shut.
Joanna: That’s because they’re having a good life.
David: It is. They enjoy life, you know, and life is more important than commerce.
And things like, we’re used to Amazon next-day delivery. You do not get that in Spain. Three weeks everything. If you order anything, it’s always three weeks, and it’s coming from Madrid. I mean, and Madrid’s four hours up the road.
Joanna: I was going to say, it’s not that far.
The trade-off is a slower pace of life.
David: Yes, which is nice.
Joanna: Whenever I arrive, we come to Spain quite a lot, and I relax. I feel like I’m on holiday in Spain. I really do. I think I emailed you, and I said, ‘Well, we’re thinking about living in Spain,’ And then I just went, ‘Do you know what? I’d never do any work.’
David: I can remember meeting you in London after London Book Fair and we went for a meal. And I was walking with you, and I had to run. You just walk so fast Joanna.
Joanna: I don’t in Spain.
David: No. Everything is just so slow. And it’s a local thing. Everywhere you go now, if we would go out about 5:00, you see the locals and they go, “Ah, Paseo, Paseo.” And they just walk morning and evening.
Whatever age people are, they just walk, and they just go for a little walk along the road, and then walk back home. I think does Spain have the longest average lifespan of any European country? I’m sure it does.
David: I think it’s second to Japan, or Korea, or something. And you can see why, they just, there isn’t much stress out here.
Joanna: No, it’s pretty relaxed.
Joanna: Why do you travel? And what does travel bring to your writing and/or your life?
David: We used to travel just to travel. And now I travel with a purpose, which is quite a nice thing. And I enjoy that more than travelling without a purpose. So, almost everything we do now, everywhere we go, it’s because I want to research a book I’m writing.
We’ve been to Naples and Rome and Avignon and Carcassonne, and lots and lots of places in Spain. And generally, the impulse for that is, ‘Oh, I want to use a location there, and so I’m going to go to it.”
So I think, before we started, I was talking about I want to do a cozy mystery series, and I’m going set it in a theme park in America. I’ve never been to America before. So now our plan is to go and spend two or three weeks out there, and do a little bit of research and, of course, it’s great for a writer because most research is mostly tax deductible.
Joanna: Are you semi-retired? Would you say you’re semi-retired or you’re absolutely retired?
David: I’m officially retired, but I work longer hours than I did when I was working.
Joanna: On your writing business?
David: You know what it’s like Joanna. It’s not work, is it? It can be tough, and it can be dispiriting at times, but it’s always fun. And I just love it.
I just love writing, and I just sit here and do it, far too much for my wife’s liking sometimes. I don’t know if you have that experience. ‘I haven’t seen you all day today, and you’re still in the office.’
Joanna: Once your American book comes out, you’ll have to come back on the show.
For now, are there any other books you would recommend to give people a taste of Andalusia whether that’s nonfiction or fiction?
David: I’m going to plug some friends of mine here in a way because there are three people I know, but the only other people I know that do write about the same time period. So we set up a little Facebook group called Al-Andalus Authors, and each of us write about Moorish period, all sorts of different times.
And also a couple of them write about contemporary Spain, and in particular the great, untalked of topic out here, which was Franco and the civil war. They simply do not talk about it out here, at all. You can ask them a question, and they won’t discuss it. But there are three other people.
One of them is a lady who we visit quite often because she lives not far away. And she’s Joan Fallon, who writes about Córdoba in the time of the Moors and also about civil war stuff.
Another one is Lisa J. Yarde who writes about a Sultana series of books, set in Moorish Spain. And then there’s a guy called John D. MacDonald (John D. Cressler) who is far and away the cleverest in this small group, and lectures on history. So I hope he never looks at my books because my history leaves a bit to be desired. But they all write about this region and different periods of time in this region.
Joanna: Fantastic. So, just tell us again about your own books.
David: The books I wrote at the moment they’re called Thomas Berrington Historical Mysteries. They’re set in southern Spain obviously. But the guy is an Englishman from Leominster in the Midlands, who finds himself accidentally orphaned. Well, not accidentally orphaned. Orphaned in France, and ends up training to be a surgeon in Malaga. And he detects crime alongside his Watson friend who is a six-foot palish eunuch called Jorge. It’s a buddy movie.
Joanna: Fantastic. I will link to all of these in the show notes.
Where can people find you and your books online?
David: They can go to the website. So, they will always find me at the website, which is davidpennywriting.com, or, I’m exclusively on Amazon.
Joanna: Fantastic. Well, thanks very much for your time, David. That was great.
David: Thank you, Joanna. Really enjoyed it.
More book recommendations related to Moorish Spain and Andalusia:
- Duende: A Journey into the Heart of Flamenco – Jason Webster
- Gates of Hell: An ARKANE thriller – J.F.Penn
- Driving over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain – Chris Stewart
- The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain – Maria Rosa Menocal
- Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree – Tariq Ali
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