Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Effendi Paperback – August 30, 2005
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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
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."
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, "...as 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.