A historical novel that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein wrote shortly before the U.S.-led invasion of his country in March 2003 will go on sale in Japan on May 19, the publisher said.

Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co. said the novel, written in Arabic, has not been published in Iraq or anywhere else in the world. The Japanese translation, titled “Akuma no Dance” (“Devil’s Dance”), will therefore be the first in bookstores anywhere.

The novel features a story of a tribe living on the Euphrates River 1,500 years ago. It is invaded by another tribe but finally defeats it through resistance.

“I think the former president expected a loss (to the U.S.-led coalition forces) and was writing this novel as a message aimed at raising morale among the Iraqi people,” said the translator, Itsuko Hirata.

Hussein was captured by the U.S. military in December 2003 and has been accused of committing various crimes and atrocities during his dictatorship.

The original text was kept by Hussein’s oldest daughter, Raghad, during the war and reached Hirata in April last year through the ex-dictator’s defense team, the publisher said.

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