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Effendi [Kindle Edition]

Jon Courtenay Grimwood
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $4.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


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Book Description

Masterfully blending speculative fiction and hard-boiled mystery, Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s acclaimed Arabesk series plunges readers into a world eerily familiar and shockingly unpredictable. Here a troubled detective follows a trail of clues through a city where innocence itself may be a thing of the past.…

It’s the twenty-first century and El Iskandryia—an alluring metropolis built on seduction, corruption, and lies—is the double-dealing heart of an Ottoman Empire that still rules the world. But these days a sense of dread hangs over El Isk—and over Ashraf Bey, the city’s new Chief of Detectives. A trial is set to take place, and it’s up to Raf to decide the case. There’s only one problem: the suspect is the billionaire father of the woman Raf should have married.

Industrialist Hamzah Effendi is accused of crimes so horrible that even El Iskandryia wants him eliminated. But Raf finds that protecting the sensual and impetuous Zara Quitrimala from the secrets of her father’s past may be even more dangerous. For Raf must now solve a series of brutal murders that are somehow connected to the case—and to Zara. And the closer Raf gets to the truth, the more elusive the answers become—and the closer he comes to his own demise.…

Raymond Chandler for the 21st century.” —Esquire
“All brilliant light and scorching heat...Grimwood has successfully mingled fantasy with reality to make an unusual, believable, and absorbing mystery."—Sunday Telegraph (London)

“If you’re not reading Jon Courtenay Grimwood, then you don’t know how subtle and daring fiction can be.” —Michael Marshall Smith, author of Spares and One of Us

“Fast, furious, fun and elegant, the Arabesk trilogy is one of the best things to hit the bookstores in a while.” —SFRevu

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the entertaining second entry in Grimwood's Arabesk trilogy (after Pashazade), Ashraf Bey is now the chief of detectives in the fictional Middle Eastern city of El Iskandryia, located in an alternate future where the Ottoman Empire still exists. While tensions between fundamentalism and nationalism roil the metropolis in a way that will be familiar to followers of current events, Bey must identify and thwart a vicious serial murderer who mutilates his victims. Suspicion attaches to the cryptic owner of Hamzah Enterprises, the father of the woman Bey has fallen for. Terrorist outrages rock El Iskandryia—kidnappings, arson, bombings—while the inquiry takes the sleuth on a journey through the seamy underbelly of his adopted society. As with Pashazade, the book gains strength from its depiction of the warm if prickly relationship Bey has with a young girl he has assumed responsibility for, as well as from some surprising flashes of humor. Less of a classic whodunit than its predecessor, this unique blend of mystery, speculative fiction and political intrigue should attract readers across several genres.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


The dazzling Pashazade was always going to be a hard act to follow, but it comes as little surprise that the prodigally talented Grimwood has pulled off the trick. His way with a sentence has a baroque finesse that makes these unclassifiable novels as elegantly written as they are rich in imaginative energy. Ashraf Bey is fleeing from the US justice system. Is he the son of the Emir of Tunis? And is he the chief of detectives for the El Iskandryian police force? As the city falls apart around him, Bey has more on his plate than merely the question of his own identity. Some might call this SF (the US, France and Germany are attempting to dominate the Middle East in this alternative 21st century), but here is writing that defies category.

Product Details

  • File Size: 329 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0553587447
  • Publisher: Spectra (August 30, 2005)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FCKC0Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,983 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Crafted August 3, 2005
It is a world where no one blinks if the Chief of Detectives does drugs in public. It is a world where children are engaged in guerilla warfare. It is a world where America doesn't pull all the strings. It is a world that is like a hall of mirrors; a fun house without the fun; a carnival where the roller coaster drops endlessly down, down, down. Grimwood lets the reader into this world one step at a time, with blinders on. Facts are revealed slowly, and sometimes out of sequence, creating an off-kilter feeling. I've never read anything quite like it.

Chief of Detectives, Ashraf Bey, finds that his knowledge of both sides of the law is essential to performing his duties. His unorthodox methods of crime solving and his personal habits are a source of amused consternation for his superior, General Pasha. Pasha tells him, " Chief you have three main problems. The first is personal. The way life works is public virtue, private vice. You keep doing it the wrong way round." Even the corrupt General recognizes the way things should work; even if he, too, fails to follow the law.

Bey's one anchor, and my favorite character in this otherwise dark world, is his niece, Hani. Her sense of humor allows us to see another side of Ashraf Bey. Precocious, intelligent and clairvoyant Hani assists her Uncle in surprising ways as he works to discover who is murdering female tourists.

Although this book is the second in a series, it is easily read as a stand alone book. While not to my taste, this novel is well crafted and is recommended for anyone who likes cyberpunk, speculative fiction or alternative histories.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Near-Future SF in an Exotic Setting February 4, 2006
By Archren
This is the second book of Grimwood's Arabesk series. Do not read this if you have not read the first one, "Pashazade." While it may be theoretically possible to understand everything that has gone on and the relationships between the characters from just this book, I wouldn't recommend trying it.

Ashraf Bey is an unlikely man to whom unlikely things happen. He acts as a political wildcard and detective in the slightly alternate future version of Alexandria, here called El Iskandriya. His relationships with his nine year old niece Hani and Zara, the beautiful daughter of a gangster industrialist, are complex to say the least.

This book fleshes out more of the relationships and backgrounds of the major characters, while also obliquely illuminating the political situation that Iskandriya finds itself in. We learn little more about Asraf's background, but more about how he chooses to act now.

The best thing about these books is the air of the exotic and the illustration of a place very, very different from our own, even if the time is very close to ours. This is especially true in the way that Grimwood depicts the reality of child "warriors" in the armies that fight the wars in Africa. He gives us an up close and personal portrayal of the kind of life these conscripted children lead, and it is sobering.

This is not a light book. The plot is confusing and sometimes it seems that there is much, much more going on behind the scenes than Grimwood chooses to show us. However, the characters and the setting are definite strengths and keep one hooked throughout the entire novel. I recommend this, assuming you have read the first book, and I look forward myself to reading the final book in the trilogy, "Felaheen."
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a history buff, I often took to alternative history (SM Stirling, etc.) as an antidote to some of the heavier volumes I read. This series in an alternative world where WW I has strange outcomes like a thoroughly revived and functional Ottoman Empire. The setting in Alexandria is a wonderful orientalist mixture of alternative history, mystery, and science fiction thrown in to explain some odd things that keep happening. So many well written characters and should have been, would have been situations that I am constantly turning the pages and having to remind myself to stop and take a break.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good August 3, 2010
Sequel to Pashazade, second volume in the Arabesque trilogy set in the alternate history Ottoman Empire. Started off a lot slower and less generally engaging, to the extent that a hundred pages in I was sharing some of the reservations I had on End of the World Blues, and was beginning to question Grimwood as a novelist. After that the story improved a lot, different elements of the backstory and unfolding action became stronger. For all that the initial glamor with entering this universe has worn out it proves itself to be a quite interesting and engaging story. Down plays the mystery format for a more thriller oriented setup, with lots of international intrigue that indicate not just the alternate Ottoman Empire but also how other powers impinge on it, making for an interesting layout. Has a better conventional climax than Pashazade, and by the end might be a bit more satisfying. I'm quite interested in the third volume.

At point I felt that Grimwood was leaning too heavy on the darker aspects of his invented setting, showing a society too violent, too corrupt, too dysfunctional to really be invested in. On the whole the picture works, but I feel it could benefit from down playing the classic cyberpunk angle a bit, and perhaps uncovering a type of hard-ridged uneasy optimism along the lines of Morgan's Woken Furies. What we get in terms of an energetically violent and ruthless but not amoral protagonist is good, and the continued integration of past history into the course of events is good. The work lacks a bit of extra force that would make the polity really feel unique and plausible, and at times I grew a bit tired of the characters' violence and struggles. Grimwood is still at least a major second tier science fiction writer, however, and he shows indications that he may attain real greatness.

Better than: Pashazade by John Courtney Grimwood
Worse than: Evolution's Shore by Ian McDonald
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