The fate of journalist Sherry Jones's debut novel "The Jewel of Medina," about the Prophet Muhammad's child bride, was uncertain for a while, after Random House cancelled its publication in May, concerned that it could engender violence.
The alarm bell was rung by Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas, who warned Random House that the publication of "The Jewel of Medina" may anger the Muslim community and even incite to violence.
Random subsequently dropped the book.
Beaufort Books looked past such risks and picked it up instead, releasing it in bookstores across the U.S. on Monday, nine days ahead of schedule. Perhaps confirming Random's fears, British publisher Gibson Square Books went through a shocking experience last month, when its office was bombed.
Three men have been charged over the attack in London, reports the BBC.
Sherry Jones has seen her dream come true though, with her book appearing in bookstores this week. She told the BBC she did not know whether Gibson Square would still publish her novel.
The history-romance book tells the story of Aisha, Prophet Muhammad child bride, from the age of 6, when she became engaged to him, to the death of the Prophet.
Jones has already completed a sequel to her book, this time focusing on Aisha's adult life. Beaufort intends to publish it next year.
It is perhaps unfortunate that Beaufort Books is the same publisher that brought "If I Did It" to bookstores, O. J. Simpson's hypothetical confession of the controversial 1995 double murder. That book also had been dropped by its initial publisher, Harper Collins, amid public outcry that it was just downright tacky.
And it is somewhat strange that Random House publishes Salman Rushdie's novels and Salman Rushdie has a fatwa against him – a death sentence. The author of "The Satanic Verses" has said Jones's book should see the light of day.