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change, rather than toward globalization or exclusion of others, as seen

in the global War on Terror and the Patriot Act. At first, like Shamsie,

Scylax of the Persian Empire, Tashin of the Ottoman Empire, and

Qayyum of the British Empire all feel “betrayed and betrayer both” at

some point. Yet, at the end of the novel, when conflicts occur, the three

of them choose to side with their countrymen, not the emperors, even

if they have benefitted from the empires. Although Scylax is entrusted

by Darius “to lead the most daring of missions in the Empire” to

navigate the Indus River (Shamsie, 2014c: 8), he is critical of the

Persian Empire and allies himself with the Carians when the Carians

rebel against Darius’ Persians. Similarly, retelling Scylax’s story to

Vivian and determined to find the Circlet of Scylax, Tahsin reveals his

secret allegiance to the Armenians, his grandmother’s people, not to

the Ottomans, even though, like Scylax, he is trusted by the empire and

has been “given permission to excavate the most astonishing site by the

Ottoman authorities” (Shamsie, 2014c: 30). Echoing Scylax and Tahsin,

Qayyum at first feels honored to be part of the 40th Pathans, tasked to

fight in the Great War for the British Raj. As one of his comrades

imagines, “one day they’ll tell stories about us in the Street of

Storytellers” (59). The truth is that, as a one-eyed man back from the

war, Qayyum walks in the Street of Storytellers, and, instead of hearing

glorious stories about the 40th Pathans, he finds the story, “Hadda

Mulla’s jihad against the English,” appealing to “the largest crowd”

(142). Upon hearing the last couplet, “Haji Sahib in the hills is

gathering his forces. / Rise up! Join him! By foot or on horses” (143),

he walks away from the Storyteller and the cheering crowd “because

for a moment he pictured himself in the uniform of the British Indian

Army, and what he felt was shame” (144). In the novel, Scylax is a

historical figure and Tahsin and Qayyum are Shamsie’s invented

characters. However, by juxtaposing real and fictional characters from

three empires in different historical periods, with a focus in each on the

imperial subjects’ shared struggle for independence, Shamsie indicates

the importance of self-problematization when one encounters the

global design of imperialism.