Shortly before 5pm on Saturday 1 September 1928 Europe gained a new kingdom and its only Muslim king: 32-year-old Zog I of Albania. Zog I was a crucial figure in modern Albanian history, creating - or attempting to create - national and cultural identity for a country that had known little stability or sense of identity since the middle ages. He was also the most unusual monarch of the 20th century, described by contemporaries as: "a despotic brigand"; "the modern Napoleon"; "Mussolini's lackey"; "the finest patriot"; "frankly a cad". This biography shows Zog as the product of a unique time and place. People who live in secure, stable countries are invited to set aside their assumptions about European monarchy and meet a king who fired back at assassins and paid his bills with gold bars.