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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A few usual library marks separate this hardback from more like new condition. Very good dust jacket. Text/pages are free from other imperfections. Very little handling wear is present. Very good corners and spine condition.
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The Dervish House Hardcover – July 27, 2010

68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Bookmarks Magazine

Known for his sweeping outlook, elaborately envisioned futures, and blend of science and mysticism, Ian McDonald has written a fascinating, thought-provoking novel worthy of his reputation. He paints a vivid portrait of the ancient city of Istanbul, layering it with political, cultural, and religious strata, as well as an ingeniously imagined world of practical nanotechnology. Critics praised his compelling characters--all too often a casualty of genre fiction--and his poetic prose, but they also had a few complaints, including some humdrum science fiction elements and minutiae that can occasionally overwhelm the story. The Dervish House may not make for light reading, but this rich and fast-paced novel, imbued with a deep and almost lyrical sense of strangeness, comes highly recommended.

From Booklist

McDonald takes the history of Istanbul, both real and imagined, and forges a multi-faceted and fascinating character out of the city itself; then he adds in the experiences of six people whose lives are about to intersect in the most unexpected ways. Over the course of a week, following a suicide bombing in which only the bomber dies, these people will discover conspiracies, legends, and long-dormant memories. In the not-so-distant future, five years after Turkey became part of the EU, the city that straddles Asia and Europe is again the center of global trade. Three seemingly disconnected stories meet in the streets and coffee houses of Istanbul: the travails of a young man who was caught in the blast who suddenly sees djinn, the efforts of an art dealer set on a mad quest for something even the buyer believes is a mere legend, and the greatest stock-market scheme ever imagined. McDonald creates a magnificent knot of intrigue, thrills, and daring adventures, with the flair for character and setting that make his tales so satisfying to indulge in. --Regina Schroeder

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 359 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr; First Edition edition (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616142049
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616142049
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Patrick St-Denis, editor of Pat's Fantasy Hotlist on July 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When I gave Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven its perfect score a few weeks back, I was persuaded that no other speculative fiction work could possibly even come close to it in terms of quality. And yet, I knew full well that the ARC for Ian McDonald's The Dervish House was sitting on my desk, practically begging me to read it. And still I believed that Kay's latest would reign supreme as the best SFF book of 2010 -- at least in this house. The more fool me, I know. . .

Considering how much I loved River of Gods, Brasyl, and Cyberabad Days, I'm aware that I should have waited a bit longer before granting Under Heaven its crown. After all, every McDonald title I've read since the creation of the Hotlist ended up in my top reads of that year. Call it Canadian patriotism or whatever you like, but I really wanted Guy Gavriel Kay to finish in pole position at the end of 2010. Unfortunately, Ian McDonald had another think coming for me.

The Dervish House is without a doubt his best and most accessible science fiction novel to date. And to put it simply, it just blew my mind. Believe me, I did try to find some shortcomings and facets that left a little to be desired. All to no avail, of course. The Dervish House is about as good as it gets, folks. McDonald's past novels had already set the bar rather high, no question. But this one, at least for me, is as close to perfection as a book can get.

Here's the blurb:

It begins with an explosion. Another day, another bus bomb. Everyone it seems is after a piece of Turkey. But the shock waves from this random act of twenty-first-century pandemic terrorism will ripple further and resonate louder than just Enginsoy Square.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Carroll VINE VOICE on July 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this one book there's a hunt for a mummy, a dodgy gas deal, terrorists hoping to employ nano-technology, soccer, and a child detective. And a real-estate deal. And... There's a lot going on, all of it draped over the luscious stage that is Istanbul.

I really don't want to give it all away, so I'll say little more. Suffice it that all these threads get woven together to tell a really great story.

If you've been to Istanbul, that's a bonus, as you'll be able to picture the streets and neighborhoods. Also, you'll fully grok how it's perfectly possible for Istanbul to have an underground world that's barely known, and in which historical artifacts just get lost. You may even find yourself wanting to buy an antique Istanbul house, just so you can clear it to its original beautiful architecture.

Dear Lord, the more I think of it, what a great book. He's got the history of a place like Istanbul down pat, and can project forward to a new generation of "Young Turks". This is just brilliantly well done. The more I reflect on it, the more I love this book. I'll be re-reading it for years. So, thanks, Ian McDonald. Actually, more like "Go raibh maith agat".


The weather is an actor in this book, just as in Kurosawa's "Stray Dog".


This is the second book I've read by the author ("Brasyl", previously). The man knows his "Gaeilge" (Irish), and he's obviously been to Rio de Janeiro and Istanbul - two of my favorite cities. I feel like we're living parallel lives, but while I'm only taking pictures, he's writing great books.


Something else that occurs: I think the EU's rejection of Turkey, along with growing Islamist sentiment in Turkey itself, is likely to keep this book mostly a work of fiction, Apart from ongoing ethnic cleansing (see <[...]), the rise of neighborhood shaykhs and more neighborhood shariat law, I suppose. Pity that.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nibiru on March 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've now started this book 3 times and not got past chapter 3 each time. But I'm not going to give up on it just yet. Why? Not sure, but I thought I should give it a review to let people know that there could be issues here. I'll come back to it again later if ever I finish it.

I can't quite put my finger on why it is that I can't get past chapter 3. The writing is fine; no problem there. The story moves along; no problem. Dialogue - fine.

It chops around a bit. It has too many points of view too early. Too many characters, perhaps. I'm not really sure of the setting, the sense of place and time. Maybe there are too many new words - I can't stand high fantasy because of those stupid new names everybody has, as if everybody was born into a New Age hippy commune.

Maybe it's just me. I reserve judgement on this one until I've read the whole book, but for now all I can say is that I can't get into it - although, I can't get out of it either.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Irate Reader on January 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Dervish House" is a book about many things. It is a book about technology and the way that it can change a society. It is about religious belief. But more than anything, it is a book about Istanbul, and the deep connection that its inhabitants share with it.

The book follows several different characters along several different plotlines. In the beginning, the only thing they have in common is the setting: an old building, the titular Dervish House, where most of the characters work or live. The connection between these different plotlines is almost nonexistent until 3/4 of the way through the book, but it never feels as if the novel is unfocused. The characters are sufficiently engaging that their stories are a pleasure to read, even if the reader spends a long time wondering the reason these characters are important.

The science fiction elements of the story are well written and thought provoking. The future Istanbul that the author has concocted for this novel is fleshed-out, and the science fictional elements are presented realistically. New forms of technology are presented, yes, but the real-life implications of their implementation are just as important as their scientific justification, something many author fail to see, and in this sense the author does not disappoint. The Istanbul of "The Dervish House" feels feasible and real because the way the future affects Istanbul is specific to that city.

However, inspired though the science fiction may be, the most important part of this novel is the way it recalls the Istanbul of the past. Istanbul is an old city, and it pulses with ancient wisdom and culture. The author has dutifully (and marvelously) captured the essence of this city in his novel.
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