The "Bird King" appeared to me to begin slowly and it took quite a while for me to actually become immersed in the story line and plot. It did help to make note as I read along on the names and places as they tended to get confused in my head. Several times I had to go back and recheck what I thought I already knew about a place or character. Finally when I had gotten to the point where I could become interested in the story of Fatima, a concubine, and Hassan who was hiding secrets I found the story totally took root. It was also very interesting to discover the world in the region of the Iberian peninsula at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. It did drag at times but ultimately the intrigue of the Muslim world and the west won me over.