'Submission, by celebrated French author Michel Houellebecq, was featured on the front cover of this week's Charlie Hebdo, the magazine attacked by terrorist gunmen on Wednesday…
Submission, Houellebecq's sixth novel, predicts that in 2022 France's mainstream Left and Right club together to back a certain Mohammed Ben Abbes in a second round presidential run-off against Miss Le Pen.
The new president then proceeds to Islamise the EU, with Turkey and various north African countries joining the bloc. The aim is to build a territory resembling the old Roman empire.
The protagonist, François, a 44-year-old literature professor, converts to Islam after a university director introduces him to the pleasures of polygamy with submissive wives.
The book, which has a print run of 150,000, has already shot to the top of Amazon.fr's bestseller list...
François Hollande, the French president, on Monday said he would read the book and that literary freedom must be respected. But he urged the French not to give into "fear" of "submersion, invasion, submission".
Houellebecq insisted that the novel was right to focus on the rise of religion. "More and more people can't stand living without God," he said.
After previously claiming Islam was the "the stupidest of all religions", the novelist declared: "The Koran turns out to be much better than I thought now that I've reread, or rather read it."
"Atheism and secularism are dead, so is the French republic," he told NouvelObs.
While the work is undoubtedly provocative, French critics were split over its literary merits with Le Monde's Raphaêlle Leyris claiming Submission was "his most mediocre to date" and Les Echos saying there are "better things to read".
Writer Emmanuel Carrère, however, insisted it was a "sublime book" by an author whose vision is "more powerful than Aldous Huxley or George Orwell".
"If there one person in the literary world, and not just the French one, who can think through this huge mutation we all feel is under way without having the means to analyse it, it is him," he said. '