Introduction to Ouroboros – The Saga Continues! | Wael Abdelgawad

Wael Abdelgawad

As-salamu alaykum Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for your patience. May Allah reward you. The last chapter of Hassan’s Tale was published in September 2014. Now here we are, a year later, ready to begin the final series in this long and exciting saga.

We will publish the first chapter of Ouroboros in one week, Insha’Allah, and a chapter each week after that until completion. There are 14 chapters altogether.

Admit it. You thought I’d never finish it the story, didn’t you? Even I had my doubts at times. For the last few years I’ve been a full-time single parent, and that is time consuming. In addition, I’ve been heavily focused on the development of my own martial arts style, called Hammerhead Hapkido, and on my Jujitsu training as I prepared to test for 2nd degree black belt (I passed, Alhamdulillah).

In Ramadan I found myself with some extra time on my hands – isn’t it amazing how much time is freed up when you don’t eat? – so I re-read the entire series, making a number of edits as I went. That triggered something, and from that time on I started writing diligently, working on Ouroboros every day.

If you are new to these (mostly) fictional stories, please note that Ouroboros is the conclusion to the previous stories in the series (Pieces of a Dream, A Lion is Born, The Deal, Kill the Courier, Dispatch Wizard and Hassan’s Tale). See the Story Index. Ouroboros will make more sense if you read those stories first.

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Even if you have already read the previous stories, please be aware that over the last year I have made several significant plot changes and additions. So you might want to re-read them.

If you’re not inclined to re-read the previous stories, here are some changes to be aware of:

  • The events in “Kill the Courier” and “Hassan’s Tale” take place two months after the end of “The Deal”, not on the same day. I wanted to give enough time to justify the feelings that Jamilah is developing for Hassan.
  • The name of the mental hospital where Hassan was held after Lena’s death was changed to Karanlik. I’d previously used the name of a real Turkish hospital, but I realized that might be slanderous.
  • The assassin Mr. Green’s code name was changed from “The Partridge” to “The Crow”. Crow is a bit scarier, don’t you think?
  • The secret warehouse belonging to the Lebanese consulate is in West Oakland, not in San Francisco.
  • Jamilah’s cousin Shamsiyyah is a trauma surgeon, rather than a psych intern. This will make sense as you read the later chapters.
  • The character of Alice’s nurse in “Dispatch Wizard” has been changed. I mention this because she will reappear briefly later on.
  • The ending of Hassan’s Tale has been completely changed; those changes have been incorporated into this first chapter of Ouroboros.

Some of these changes were made in response to insightful reader comments. One reader questioned (and rightfully so) the logic of the previous Hassan’s Tale ending. Another suggested that Kadija could guide Jamilah and help her become more mature. Yet another posted a brilliant comment from which I borrowed the title of chapter 4: The Only End to the Road of Life.

In fact, some you should be writers as well (if you are not already). There are many sharp minds out there.

So, dear brothers and sisters, thank you. Thanks also to Muslimmatters for providing me with the opportunity to reach so many dedicated readers; and to my editor, Amy, who has forced me to remain true to the logic of the plot and the personalities of the characters.

I do have one request of you readers. If you think you know the identity of a certain character (some of you know what I mean), please refrain from speculating in the comments. I don’t want the mystery to be ruined for others.

Look for a new chapter every Wednesday. See you next week, and enjoy!

Next: Ouroboros, Part 1 – Trapped!

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36 responses to “Introduction to Ouroboros – The Saga Continues! | Wael Abdelgawad”

  1. Ali says:

    Its your story, but I liked Partridge” . Crow sounds scarier, but partridge somehow seems to fit in with the nonchalant attitude that the character has towards causing others pain.
    I’ll probably reading the first parts while eagerly wating for the last.

    • Ali, you have a point there. In fact, I originally chose Partridge because the partridge was the symbol of an ancient Phoenician warrior race. But that’s very obscure and more than readers need to know. “Crow” seems to better convey the kind of sharp-eyed cruelty that the assassin is capable of. When it popped into my head it felt right.

      • Reshma Rahiman says:

        Assalamualikum Brother Wael..I know you might disagree..but “crow” just don’t seem to fit in…crows are so common and it doesn’t go with the complex nature as opposed to the “Patridge”….there you have an element of unpredictability and an element of mystery. Crow would have worked as a visual metaphor, even then I would chose the raven and not the crow. I am only suggesting so that you can consider the same when you publish the book..till then we can be nice enough and put up with the crow..he he..:p

      • Sister Hafizah says:

        Assalamu alaykum, I just think that the Partridge looks more like an elegant but fierce assassin.

    • ImanZ says:

      I agree. The image of a pecking crow seems too “busy” somehow. Whenever I read it, I wince, missing the image of the cool, calculating man first described. Crows are ugly and scavengers. The Partridge makes you imagine hansome, but with a cold look in his eye.

  2. Bint A says:

    Wa’alaikumusalam Br. Wael

    I think this is one of the BEST online Eid presents one could ask for!! :D JazakAllahu khairun!

    My heart jumped as soon as I saw Ouroboros on the front page… the wait has indeed been toooo long.

    I had moved on to Umm Zakiyyah’s weekly short stories in the hopes of coming across a similar addicting tale… but so excited to know that you have now completed it! Mubarak to you, may Allah accept your good intentions behind it, ameen.

    As for “The Crow” then I totally agree with Ali, the Crow is too cliche– you automatically associate it with evil, which should not be the case with such a complex character as The Partridge. The Partridge gives off the feeling of a real, deeper evil. something which cannot be easily categorized or labelled. The Crow sounds too much like a fairy tale classic evil villain which takes away the uniqueness of your character… imho. [Easy way for MS Word: Ctrl F, Replace Partridge with Crow–will change all terms automatically]. I hope you will consider changing it back :)

    I can’t believe how excited I am! …Thank you for your dedication and determination to finish writing it.

  3. Shabeeb says:

    Oh baby what an Eid present. I can’t wait.

  4. Fatimah says:

    That’s our Eid gift. I am so happy the next part is here.

    Thank you.

  5. AJ says:

    I prefer Partridge. Someone that is apparently innocent but in fact evil below the surface is far more sinister than someone who looks evil and is indeed evil.

  6. FM says:

    Its the Eid gift. Thank you.
    And yes patridge sounded good. But its your story.
    Thanks again

    • Aww, you guys are killing me with the whole Partridge/Crow thing. You know, I had to ask the tech team to do a sitewide search and replace to change it the first time. I appreciate everyone’s thoughts, but I’m going to stick with Crow.

      • MS says:

        dear Brother Wael
        just want to thank you for your generousity with us, and let you know we’re sending up prayers for you and your child and all happiness for you. May you be blessed. WE love your writing, mashaAllah. Allah khalikum bi elf khayr ya Rabb.
        ps. i like partridge too! lol.
        but i respect whatever felt right for you.

  7. Abrar says:

    Thank you so so so so much. You really made my day. May Allah swt bless you and may he give you a peaceful life in this world and the next. While I’m waiting for next update, I’ll refresh my memory by reading this series one more

  8. SZH says:

    Welcome welcome! Ouroboros is the most anticipated part!
    By the way, I second every one up there, “The Partridge” gives a more thriller-like devilish aura. Crow feels a shallow one. I hunt down many crows regularly for pest control! :-P

    • SZH says:

      And, congratulations on passing the 2nd degree black belt!
      (I think, it is better to stay away from you now.)

      • Heh heh, thanks. Only stay away if you’re an enemy. If you’re a friend, stay close!

        Are the crows eating from your garden, or what? How do you hunt them?

      • SZH says:

        These crows attack “Bulbuls” and “Koels” which I have in my backyard, living on trees.
        And these crows often bugs us otherway.
        I hunt them down by using my “airgun” (or pellet gun).

  9. Iffat says:

    As salam alaikum!! I am sooo glad Alhamdolillah to see this series start again. I thought I would never know the ending of hasans story, but Allah is ar-Rahman. Jazak Allah khairan for writing up this entire series. I am going to read from the start again ??

  10. JK says:

    I think The Partridge is def a better name than the crow also.

  11. Khalida says:

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
    I’m really excited to continue reading this series! Mabrook on attaining 2nd degree black belt wa BaarakAllahu feeki for being a great dad. May your daughter always be the coolness of your eyes. Ameen.
    I know this has already been mentioned, but I really feel the need to reiterate it: Please, please, please keep the original title of ‘patridge’. There are more than enough reasons, many of which were previously mentioned by readers, to omit the usage of crow. Patridge is such a brilliant word to describe the mysterious and sadistical nature of the character. It also sounds much, much better than the word ‘crow’. I hope you revert that modification…

    • Khalida says:

      Sorry for writing BaarakAllahu feeki. I think it was a typo because of my phone keyboard. I meant to say, BaarakAllahu feek.

  12. Omar says:

    I CANNOT wait! I used to stay up every Tuesday night waiting for the next part to come out. Love, love, love the story it’s super exciting

  13. Omer says:

    Salam Alaikom,

    Initially I agreed with everyone that the partridge sounded cooler. Until I googled images of it, you can’t have an enemy that looks like a pigeon. As cliche and as overused as I think the crow sounds, I think it conjures a more accurate image of darkness and evil.

  14. I have a question for the majority of you who favor “Partridge” over “Crow”. Is it possible that your preference is only because you are used to Partridge? Maybe if I had started out calling him The Crow and then proposed changing it to Partridge, you’d say, “No, keep it as The Crow! A partridge is an innocuous, weak creature.”

    Alternatively, what about the following:

    The Raven
    The Crane
    The Lammergier (a kind of vulture)
    The Albatross
    The Shrike

    • Ali says:

      My reason for prefering partrage was the fact that it sounded rather whimsical, which I thought fit in with the attitude the character has towards inflicting pain. I mean, the guy is torturing someone and has plucked out the vocal chords because he is afraid of some minor damage to his ears! Crane is OK. Shrike, Crow, raven and vulture all have the same effect. Albatros sounds to fancy and romanticized.

    • Abu Asiya says:

      I don’t know, the Crow just sounds cliche. The Partridge sounded ominous to me for some reason – like it’s this really evil and dangerous person masquerading as a weak bird.

      To go through the rest of the list:

      The Raven: too cliche
      The Crane: I like that. It’s got a similar ring to the Partridge, but cranes are stronger
      The Lammergier: I’m guessing most people don’t know what that is, so it just sounds like a German name or something.
      The Albatross: Could work… although the albatross has sea-faring/traveling associations that don’t quite fit.
      The Shrike: I don’t know what that is, but given its closeness to “shreek”, it sounds pretty good.

      I AM used to Partridge, but if you were to change it to anything, I’d go with Crane or Shrike…

  15. Khalida says:

    Crow and Raven sound really cliche. Albatross doesn’t sound too evil although I think it’s probably not a bad idea to use that one. But I really like lammergier! I still think partrdige sounds more evil, but lammergier sounds sophisticated and mysterious too.

  16. Minfarra says:

    Thank you so much! Alhamdulillah! I cannot wait until next week!!!! So excited

  17. JK says:

    I vote for these (in preference order).
    – The Shrike
    – The Lammergier (a kind of vulture)
    – The Albatross

  18. It may not be possible on a technical level to replace “Crow” with “Partridge” or something else. So “Crow” will stand for now. I’ll consider changing it in the future.

  19. Joyce says:

    YAY! you are back! This story inspired me in so many ways! keep writing!

  20. Umm safiyyah says:

    Assalamu alaikum, love your stories! MashaAllah excellent writing. Just a quick question which installment of hassans story has the most changes? Basically, Which one has to be reread before starting this next series? Jazakallah khair for your amazing stories!

    • Wa alaykum as-salam, thanks for your comment. To tell you the truth, you could get by without re-reading any of it if the story is still relatively fresh in your mind. The ending to Hassan’s Tale was changed completely, but that was incorporated into this chapter of Ouroboros.

  21. Muslimahvan says:

    Asalam halaikum! I am so happy to see the story continue! After checking on the website every few months it was a nice suprise to see it pop on my inbox. May Allah guard you brother and give you barakah in all you do. Ameen. Can’t wait to read the first part after refreshing my memory. JazakAllah khair

  22. Mummyjaan says:

    It’s a tremendous challenge being a full-time single parent. You are managing to do many other things alongside; good job, and may Allah help you with your efforts.

    No more speculation *puts finger on mouth*. Most speculations end up being incorrect, anyway.

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