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Autumn of the Phantoms Paperback – 27 Jan 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Toby Press Ltd; 1st English Language Ed edition (27 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592641431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592641437
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,597,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Yasmina Khadra is the author of more than 20 novels, including The Swallows of Kabul and The Attack, both shortlisted for the IMPAC literary award. Khadra's work has been published in 45 countries. He has twice been honoured by the Académie française, winning both the Médaille de vermeil (2001) and Grand Prix de littérature (2012).

Photo copyright E. Robert-Espalieu

Product Description


Brahim Llob, the policeman-writer, is summoned by the chief of Algerian police and is fired for having published Morituri, the book which the Algerian establishment considered dishonourable and full of lies. Following a trip back to his hometown where he becomes a victim of an attack by a GIA commando, Llob goes back to Algiers. Fiction and reality intermesh in this third volume of the Inspector Llob series, which has the violence of Algeria as a constant supporting character throughout.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Feanor on 17 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
The Algerian writer Yasmina Khadra's Autumn of the Phantoms is difficult to place in either crime or thriller genres. It is much much more than escapism. It is social criticism, a withering lambasting of the censorship laws in Algeria, a powerful cry against the constant undercurrent of fundamentalist terror. An (autobiographical, I think) Inspector Llob has written a book showing the country and the army in poor light and he is forcibly thrown out of the force; he is targeted by a terrorist bomber and, while recuperating, pulled into the surreal world of the super-rich and intellectual Algiers, where he finds that corruption and power work hand-in-hand. [Yasmina Khadra is the pseudonym of Mohammed Moulessehoul, a high-ranking military officer in the Algerian armed forces, who was castigated and vilified for writing what were considered lies about the incestuous nexus between the government and the radicals.]
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Depressing, very depressing 22 May 2006
By David W. Nicholas - Published on
Format: Paperback
Yasmina Khadra is the pseudonymous author of a trio of Superintendant Llob mysteries (of which this is the third volume) and The Swallows of Kabul. In reality he's an exiled Algerian army officer who now lives in France. The first two Llob books were sort of an Algerian version of a cross between Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. Both of the books are very strong on atmosphere and character, and rather weak on plot. This third book basically disposes with the plot completely, and the atmosphere is so leaden it's downright oppressive. Basically, Llob gets fired (for writing the first book in the series) and the rest of the story is him dealing with being out of work, and his depression.

I enjoyed all three of the books in some ways, but frankly this is the sort of thing that I'm sure plays better among Algerians than it does on this side of the pond. Without a plot, this third book isn't as good as the first too. I repeat my original observation: if they'd released the three books together, it would have made a volume of about 400 pages, at most, and would have a larger circulation.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An excellent addition to all mystery buff reading lists 5 April 2006
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
Autumn Of The Phantoms by Yasmina Khadra is the enthralling tale of an Algerian policeman-turned-detective and writer who, as a result of his latest book, losses his well established job. Main character, Brahim Llob, after publishing his latest book, is confronted with his peers condemnation and consideration of his dishonor, causing his visit to his hometown which results in an attack from GIA commando. Autumn Of The Phantoms is a page-turning complex and educational novel, mixing truths of the harsh realities faced in Algeria and quasi-autobiographical for the exiled author. Highly recommended, Autumn Of The Phantoms is an excellent addition to all mystery buff reading lists.
Refuse to Allow These Monsters to Be Forgiven 1 Mar. 2011
By Sam Sattler - Published on
Format: Paperback
Yasmina Khadra (pseudonym of Algerian author Mohammed Moulessehoul) closes the circle on his Superintendent Brahim Llob series with this third book in the series, Autumn of the Phantoms. Superintendent Llob's tendency to speak his mind as bluntly with his superiors as with the criminals he chases has made him a marked man in present-day Algeria. Not only does he have to worry about Muslim terrorists wanting to assassinate him; he has to fear the same from those in power inside his own police department. Llob knows too much, talks too much about it, and is determined to go down swinging if he has to go down at all.

Now, it seems, his superiors have the perfect excuse to push Llob out the door: his novel, Morituri, in which the Superintendent exposed the corruptness of practically everyone with any power or influence in Algiers, including the police. First fired, and then allowed to retire (with one of the most surreal retirement tributes imaginable), Superintendent Llob now has to decide what to do with the rest of his life. Common sense dictates that he move to the countryside with his wife where, hopefully, he will no longer be a likely target for assassination. But first, Llob must attend the funeral of one of his oldest friends, a man tortured and killed by those who want to do the same to Llob. What happens after the funeral - to Llob and the local villagers, terrible as it is, is typical of what happened all over Algeria during the worst of the country's so-called civil war.

Yasmina Khadra captures the paranoia and terror of Algeria's recent religiously inspired bloodletting to such a degree that those already familiar with its details will cringe as they read the author's account of what happened on a nightly basis to those unable to protect themselves from the terrorists - and from the soldiers and policemen charged with protecting them. As one character put it as life went on and the carnage was ignored: "Here, young girls are raped and beheaded, children are maimed by bombs, whole families are hacked to pieces every night, and we behave as if nothing's going on."

Criminals and religious fanatics thrive in this opportunity to rape, murder, steal, and run wild in ways almost unimaginable. The army and the police are so overwhelmed that many in their ranks grow to be as vicious as those they are supposed to control. Civilians are the most unfortunate because they can trust neither the "bad guys" nor the supposed "good guys."

Perhaps, as one of Superintendent Llob's friends reflects, what hurts most is the realization that all the violence comes from fellow Algerians. He said:

"We've been taught to hate ever since we came into the world; we were turned from the Truth. We're taught hatred of the Other, hatred of the Absent and the Foreign - a manufactured hatred, in short. And look, Brahim, just look. Who's burning our schools today, who's killing our brothers and neighbors who's beheading our intellectuals, who's putting our land to fire and the sword? Aliens? Malaysians? Animists? Christians? ... They're Algerians, just Algerians, who not so long ago were belting out the national anthem in our stadiums, who rushed in the thousands to help the victims of disasters and mobilized impressively for every telethon. And now look. Do you recognize yourself in them? - I don't, not at all...My race of people, Brahim, are all those who, from one end of the world to the other, refuse to allow these monsters to be forgiven."

I was fortunate to spend several years working in Algeria. What I read in Algerian newspapers (and what my Algerian friends told me) about the slaughter of whole villages in one bloody night, the beheadings of men in front of their families, the hijacking of buses filled with men who would be murdered on their way to work, and the beheadings of foreign workers, is even worse than what Khadra describes in Autumn of the Phantoms. I do believe that there are thousands of Algerians that "refuse to allow these monsters to be forgiven." Pray that they survive long enough to get back their country.
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