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Pashazade: The First Arabesk Hardcover – 21 May 2001

17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Earthlight; 1st edition (21 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743202848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743202848
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,090,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jon Courtenay Grimwood was born in Malta and christened in the upturned bell of a ship. He grew up in the Far East, Britain and Scandinavia. Apart from novels he writes for magazines and newspapers. He has been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award twice and the BSFA Award for Best Novel seven times, winning twice. He lives in Winchester with his wife, novelist and editor-in-chief of RED magazine, Sam Baker.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Ashraf Bey is not who he seems--a rich Ottoman aristocrat to whom the Iskandryia of a rather different 21st century is more or less his oyster--nor is he simply what he thinks he is--a minor street criminal shipped off to North Africa when he fell foul of his employers. Accused yet again of murders he did not commit, he finds out on the run that he is better than he thinks he is--smarter and more capable and also someone whom people trust and love.

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


'... a deeply original work, carrying the seed of Grimwood's vision of an alternate future which I feel sure will blossom' -- THE ALIEN ONLINE

'... every bit as good as you would expect from a writer of Grimwood's standing... this really is essential reading' -- ENIGMA

'A future-shock blizzard' -- STEPHEN BAXTER

'Grimwood has successfully mingled fantasy with reality to make an unusual, believable and absorbing mystery' -- SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

'Pashazade is the author's finest yet' -- STARLOG --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Davidson on 13 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Although this book will be filed under SF because of its alternative history background, it is actually a murder/mystery with its roots in the traditional film noir style.
The lead character Zee Zee/Raf is a mysterious, dangerous and reluctant hero. He is surrounded by powerful people with schemes of their own. There is the inevitable love interest an to cap it all a femme fatale.
Somehow despite the clichés, this is an entertaining book with plenty of charm and engaging (if not exactly deep) characters.
JCG, is also very clever with is background. Many authors would put the alternate history in the foreground and show off their clever concept, but JCG keeps it where it belongs dropping references in from time to time with a reasonable degree of subtlety and a great deal of restraint.
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.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
First of all, if anyone thinks setting a cyberpunk/noir in the Arab/Islamic world is a brand new idea, I would refer them to the late George Alex Effinger's '80s Marid Audran series (When Gravity Fails, A Fire in the Sun, and The Exile Kiss) and short story collection (Budayeen Nights). That series featured a down and out 22nd-century Arab gumshoe in grimy Cairo who is unexpectedly elevated into a powerful position and makes heavy use of brain implants in order to track down a few murderers, exact vengeance, and try and figure out just who his parents actually were. Hmmm... sounds an awful lot like this book, doesn't it?
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Jun. 2001
Format: Hardcover
Meet Ashraf Bey, a future-crime hero in classic noir style. Like all Grimwood's heroes Raf has more to him than first meets the eye, but unlike some of the earlier characters, this is someone with the qualities to become one of the great detectives of the 21st century. But enough about Ashraf Bey, what about the book? JCG fans will recognise Pashazade as a real departure - more crime than sf, it is still set, like all his previous novels, in a near future with an alternative history.
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.
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By John on 13 July 2008
Format: Paperback
If you think that murder mysteries need vicars or tortuous plots, where the last chapter reveals all then put the kettle and I'll finish before you come back. But if you are open to Chandler film-noir stories please stay as this review is for you.

The context is an alternative future where the 1st world war ended early so the Ottoman Empire is modernised rather then dismembered. Aristocrats still have political and social power within a liberal monarchy. Think of Jordan being the norm throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

This is by way of back-story as real focus is the arrival from an American Jail, of Asref Bey in El Iskandryia(Alexandria in our timeline) summoned by his Aunt who is a mover and shaker in the local politics to marry a cousin he has never met. His refusal and the death of his Aunt soon have him fighting for his life in a world he struggles to understand. Intertwined with this story are flashbacks to why he is confused about his past and future.

The story is plot not character driven but the setting makes for freshness to a familiar story. Given my interest in history and politics, I found it difficult to see why this society has more advanced technology then our timeline but that's a Geek thing.

Anyway, the kettle is boiled and the tea-tray is on the way so let's go before we have to find out what Professor Plum did in the Library. And if you have not read it, go and do it now!
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