El Iskandria is the most famous and cosmopolitan city of Ottoman Egypt in the 21st century. Ashraf Bey travels there to escape an American prison but ends up the main suspect in a case of murder.
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Set in a mildly different alternate world, Pashazade is a thriller with a solidly imagined mystery at its core; it is also a novel about a man finally and belatedly growing up. Ashraf's sense of responsibility for an orphaned girl and for the woman with whom he has refused an arranged marriage are part of what makes him admirable; he has learned the hard way not to treat people as disposable. The details of this alternate near future--an Arab world that remained Turkish after a 1914 war that never quite became important, and into which some slick cybertechnology and genetic gadgetry have slotted without changing anything fundamental--are effectively imagined, but never more important than the people. --Roz Kaveney
In case you are interested, the alternate history background is that the US didn't join in WWI and that Germany under the Kaiser + the Ottoman empire flourished over the rest if the century.
The novel is set in Alexandria, Egypt and opens (pretty much) with the Zee Zee arriving there from Seattle.
I enjoyed it and would happily recommend it it to anyone who enjoys murder mysteries and/or near future SF.
This is still the case, but he has moved away from the cyberpunk view that prevailed in neoaddix, reMix and Lucifer's Dragon. He still uses the same universe but has focused more on the characters and their interaction.
One thing that returns to this book is the mentor. Something that appears in JCG's books is the electronic mentor/advisor, I think specifically of the gun/monkey in redRobe. Here it takes the form of an illusive fox which resides within the main characters head.
It took a while to engage me but once going I found it more enjoyable than redRobe which, in my opinion, is a slight dip in quality over the previous books.
All in all, a good return to form, and as the first of a reported three I eagerly await the next in the trilogy.
But don't panic, because despite a start that's more thoughtful and thought-provoking than, say Lucifer's Dragon or reMix, Pashazade accelerates to a fast, furious and compelling conclusion, featuring all the usual JCG motifs - cutting edge technology, a fox in Raf's head and a soundtrack that practically echoes off the pages. Whether you're an established fan or a 'JCG virgin' a tenner says you'll be gagging for the next instalment.
Grimwood's story is a fairly off-the-rack "reluctant hero" tale about Ashraf, a small time hoodlum unexpectedly sprung from jail in the U.S. and brought to Alexandria/Iskandriya by an aunt he didn't know he had. Apparently he's the son of the Bey of Tunis, and therefore a very important young man with carte blanche and legal immunity to almost anything. However, it's clear that he's also got all kinds of genetic modifications, the source of which is left deliberately murky. He's also got some kind of invisible advisor fox (in D&D days, we would have called it a familiar), and a whole host of issues. Soon after his arrival in "Isk", his aunt is killed and the police seem to think he did it. So naturally, he must carry out his own investigation in order to clear his name -- with the help of a ponytailed ex-American Chief of Police. At the same time, Ashraf's past -- from lonely boarding school upbringing, to working for Seattle Chinese gangster Mu San -- is measured out in italicized flashbacks.
Actually, the entire first third of the book is rather confusingly arranged, with chapters in reverse chronological sequence and shifting points of view.... Read more ›
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