Mika Waltari
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984 pages

The Wanderer

Mikael Hakim

The winner of Finland’s State Prize for Literature 1950.

The Wanderer continues the story of Mikael Karvajalka (The Adventurer) following his life as he converts from Christianity to Islam in 16th century Europe and finally comes to occupy a high position in the court of Suleiman the Magnificent.

At the beginning of The Wanderer, Mikael and his ever-loyal sidekick Andy decide to pull the breaks on their adventure and seek peace on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, boarding a ship in the port of Venice. It’s not long before their ship becomes an easy target for Muslim pirates and is seized. Mikael and Andy take stock of their options and decide that their best bet is to convert to Islam. Ever the lovable rogue, Mikael ends up marrying an Italian woman, serving as the Sultan’s slave and becoming an authorised physician who goes by the name Michael el-Hakim.

Painting a rich picture of the Mediterranean in the early 16th century, The Wanderer weaves historical fact with lively storytelling seamlessly.

The Wanderer was published under the title The Sultan’s Renegade in the UK.

Prizes and nominations

Finland State Prize for Literature, 1950

Mika Waltari (1908-1979) is the most popular 20th century Finnish writer who is best known for his magnus opus The Egyptian. Over a career that spanned five decades, Waltari published well over 100 works, of which 200 translations have been made. His works include at least 30 novels, 20 plays and 15 novellas, as well as short stories, poems, screenplays and essays. In 1957 he was appointed to the Academy of Finland, having previously won the state literature award five times. Waltari’s works have been translated into over 40 languages.


The Adventurer, 1948
The Wanderer, 1949


Finnish PDF
English synopsis
English abridged translation
German full translation

Rights sold

Croatian (A3DATA 1999)
Czech (Hejkal 2002, 2020)
Dutch (Holkema 1952)
Danish (Sesam 1951 / Odense 1982)
English (G. P. Putnam’s 1951)
Estonian (Varrak 2023)
French (Olivier Orban 1985 / Le Jardin des Livres 2004)
German (Neff Pal Verlag 1988 / Kuebler Verlag 2012 & 2020)
Greek (Cactus 1989 / Kalentis 1989 & 2015)
Hungarian (Europa 1967 & 1997)
Icelandic (Odds Björnssona 1961)
Italian (Garzanti 1953)
Lithuanian (Tyto Alba 2006), rights reverted
Polish (ISKRY 1983 / Ksiaznica 1997 & 2015)
Portuguese, Brazilian (Merito 1959)
Russian (Eksmo 1996)
Spanish (Cumbre 1952 / Exhito 1962 / Plaza & Janes 1975 / Edhasa 2005, 2016, 2021)
Swedish (Schildt 1951 / Wahlström & Widstrand 2003)
Turkish (Bilge Kultur 2006)


“A complex plot, with successive interlocking episodes, this adds up to another picaresque romantic adventure novel which those who enjoyed its predecessors will claim as their own.” – Kirkus Review