The Steel Seraglio by Mike Carey

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Synopsis

Once, in a city known as Bessa, there was a sultan named Bokhari Al-Bokhari, who was thrown down by the zealots of the ascetic Hakkim Mehdad. The sultan, his wives and children were put to the sword, while his 365 concubines were sent to a neighbouring caliph as tribute, Hakkim having no use for the pleasures of the flesh. But a day after the caravan had departed from Bessa, Hakkim discovered the terrible secret that the concubines had hidden from him. His reaction was swift and cruel. Kill the women of the harem forthwith, along with their children and maidservants. Let not one survive. Their bodies let the desert claim, and their names be fed to silence. This, then, is the tale - or tales - of how a remarkable group of women fight together to survive both the fury of Hakkim and the rigours of the desert. It is the tale of Zuleika, whose hidden past holds the key to their future, and of Rem, the librarian whose tears are ink. Of the wise Gursoon, who defines the group's conscience, and of the silver-tongued thief, Anwar Das, who knows when to ignore that conscience. This is the tale of the forging of a rabble of concubines, children, camel-herds and thieves into an army of silk and steel. It is the tale of the redemption and rise of Bessa, fabled City of Women. And it is the tale of an act of kindness that carries the seed of death, and will return to bring darkness and the end of a dream...
 

About Mike Carey

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Linda, Louise and Mike Carey are three writers living in North London. Sometimes they write together, sometimes alone. Louise wrote The Diary of a London Schoolgirl for the website of the London Metropolitan Archive. She also co-wrote the graphic novel Confessions of a Blabbermouth with Mike. Linda, writing as A.J. Lake, authored the Darkest Age fantasy trilogy. She has also written for TV, most notably for the German fantasy animation series Meadowlands. Mike has written extensively in the comics field, where his credits include Lucifer, Hellblazer, X-Men and The Unwritten (nominated for both the Eisner and Hugo Awards). He is also the author of the Felix Castor novels, and of the X-Men Destiny console game for Activision. He is currently writing a movie screenplay, Silent War, for Slingshot Studios and Intrepid Pictures. They share their crowded house with two other writers/artists, a cat, and several stick insects.
 
Published April 10, 2012 by ChiZine. 440 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Steel Seraglio

Publishers Weekly

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it’s a good approach, backed by fast pacing and great characters, and the occasional tonal stumble like “What happens in the deep desert, stays in the deep desert” is negligible in light of the thrilling tale.

Jan 30 2012 | Read Full Review of The Steel Seraglio

Black Gate

Most of the book is one text, and that text is occasionally, rarely, interrupted by other short stories which present alternate perspectives on the action of the overall story.

Jul 13 2012 | Read Full Review of The Steel Seraglio

The Crow's Caw

In another section, a nun finds the text written by our narrator and translates it, and again, keeps on the surface, bringing to mind the fact that this book as a whole, feels like it has seen far too many translators, until the facets which make a stone a gem were worn down, dulling the shine an...

Mar 25 2012 | Read Full Review of The Steel Seraglio

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