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The Dervish House (Gollancz)

The Dervish House (Gollancz) [Kindle Edition]

Ian Mcdonald
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Loving Ian McDonald's science-fiction vision of Istanbul ... Ancient Ottoman mysteries and nanotechnology: that's the kind of mash-up we like.' (THE HERALD (Glasgow))

'The Dervish House is simply sublime, an incredible novel by a literary genius that is by far one of the best novels of the last decade' (SFBOOK)

Book Description

The new SF epic from Ian McDonald does for Turkey what BRASYL did for Brazil.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 774 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (29 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003XNTTZ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #125,485 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Ian McDonald was born in Manchester in 1960. His family moved to Northern Ireland in 1965. He now lives in Belfast and works in TV production. The author of many previous novels, including the groundbreaking Chaga books set in Africa, Ian McDonald has long been at the cutting edge of SF. RIVER OF GODS won the BSFA award in 2005.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and very readable 9 Sep 2010
By John Tierney VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In line with other reviews so far, I thought this was an excellent book. Set in Istanbul in 2027 5 years after Turkey joins the EU, it covers multiple, linked story-strands covering subjects such as religion, politics, nano-tech, economics, terrorists and legends including the Mellified Man (don't bother looking it up, just enjoy it in the book).

There are numerous characters who are faily well sketched - the ousted academic, the child detective with a heart complaint, the stock market swindler and his religious-artefact selling wife, the disturbed fanatic and the nano-tech entrepeneurs. McDonald weaves their stories very skillfully and vividly paints a picture of near-future Istanbul and the integration of new technology into an ancient city.

I really enjoyed "River of Gods" but couldn't finish "Brasyl" for some reason. But this is by some way the best book I have read this year. McDonald successfully merges good story-lines with believable future-technology and writes it well. Any author who can come up with a line such as "Smell is the djinni of memory, all times are one to it" has my admiration.

If you want intelligent, well-written near-future science-fiction, you can't go wrong with this book. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book 9 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
McDonald has set pretty high expectations with his last two books, but this one doesn't disappoint.

The Dervish House unfolds in a compelling near future Istanbul, a heady mix of history, cultures and ubiquitous nanotechnology. It tells the intertwined stories of six characters, spanning five days of an Istanbul heat wave: a gas options trader with a get rich quick plan, an antiquarian commissioned to find a fabulous mythical artefact; a retired Professor of Economics wounded by ethnic persecution and a love lost, a troubled mystic who sees djinn and talks with saints, a "Marketing Consultant" called in to save the family nanotechnology start-up, and a boy detective with the coolest nanotech toy ever.

With treasure hunts, terrorist plots, wheeling and dealing, and a high tech shoot out, the Dervish House is fast paced and a real page turner. True to style however, McDonald's characters are well rendered and believable, his ideas first class and his writing is complex and mature.

A wonderful book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another in a long line of masterpieces.... 28 Aug 2010
The novel is set in the Istanbul of 2027. Turkey is now part of the EU. It starts with a bang.

Necdet, who was disowned by his family, bar his brother, is on a tram to work when a smiling woman blows her own head off. Shocked by the event, he doesn't realize how badly he was affected until he starts seeing ghosts (djinn) everywhere. The traffic-jam aftermath makes Leyla miss her best chance of a job. She has to fall back on family connections to represent her cousins who want to get financing for a wacky nano-tech start-up. Ayse, an art dealer is offered a lot of money to find a legend, a "Mellified Man", an ancient corpse preserved in honey, and decides to take up the challenge, despite misgivings about her client because of his aftershave. Her husband is cooking up a massive deal of his own, using his skills as a gas market-trader and his special knowledge of a disused gas pipeline going back into embargoed Iran. Can Durukan, a young deaf boy, sends his shape-changing spy bots to the site of the bombing and tracks a mysterious bot that was recording the event. As a wannabe detective he never lets up his search for the truth.Finally, Georgios Ferentinou, an ex-University economics lecturer and erstwhile radical, gets an offer of a job with a think tank doing blue-sky research into possible terrorist attacks. He confronts an old enemy and seeks a lost love.

All the characters are residents of the Dervish House at Adem Dede Square. The Dervishes were a now-vanished sect. The house is a relic of Istanbul's past. The novel subtly weaves together historical and mythical views of the city and its peoples, while at the same time investigating the possible futures offered by nano-tech and EU membership.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe write about Belfast next time 8 Aug 2012
By Z de MC
As an avid reader of cyberpunk and a former resident of Istanbul, I was sure that I would enjoy The Dervish House. And I did, in the beginning. Then the mistakes started piling up and finally the inconsistencies and lack of credible detail have ruined this book for me.

Dedicating pages in the beginning of the book to Turkish pronunciation is all well and good but there were spelling mistakes in at least half of the Turkish words and names used in this book - For example, it's Aslantepe not "Aslanteppe", Hacettepe not "Haceteppe", Osmanli not "Ösmanli", Meryem Ana Firtinasi not "Firtanisi" as it was repeatedly misspelled, meaning "Tempest of Mother Mary" and definitely not "Wind of September" especially since it happens in mid-October.

Characters don't feel authentic, not least because they say things like "I will see you when I see you" that are impossible to say in Turkish in any meaningful way, they serve pistachios with coffee (always served with alcohol, never with coffee) and they refer to each other by their last names, which NEVER happens in Turkey. Turks didn't even have surnames prior to 1934. It is pretty obvious that the author doesn't know this - Haci Ferhat's descendant is called Beshun Ferhat, which is highly unlikely given that "Ferhat" was his given name and Haci was an honorific title meaning "Muslim who has done the Hajj to Mecca".

There were so many things that didn't ring true, and one was Adnan speaking in English with a trader from Baku in Azerbaijan, saying the other guy just didn't speak good English. Why on earth would these two people struggle with English over the phone anyway, given that they both speak Turkish?!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I wasn't expecting my SF to shape my future travel preferences
This has got to be one of Ian McDonald's top five books, and it certainly sits alongside River of Gods as one of the two best of his group of unconnected books set in the futures... Read more
Published 9 months ago by P. J. Dunn
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing
While I enjoyed the River of Gods, this labyrinthine book has lost its appeal half way. Impossible to follow all the leads and comprehend the neologisms without explanation (for... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Carl Peremans
4.0 out of 5 stars Parson's egg
I found this book's interwoven story lines intriguing. Set in 2027, it is a plausible near future with many elements we would recognise from the present. Read more
Published 17 months ago by P. J. A. Jennings
4.0 out of 5 stars Great sense of place, interesting SF
I very much enjoyed this book, and I can see why it won a BSFA award.
Set in near future Istanbul, it covers a week in the lives of six characters who live/work in an old... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Cathy Hill
2.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, poor execution
I read a lot of sci fi, and I am quite forgiving of the genre, but this book is painful to read. The ideas in it are cool and enticing, but the author manages to turn them into an... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Lame Can, Boy Detective
4.0 out of 5 stars Adventures of the (mostly) Young Turks
Ultra-near future science fiction carries with it an occupational hazard for the author - that of being overtaken by technological and social events. Read more
Published 21 months ago by DB
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Futuristic Heist Thriller
Well, that's the only way I could describe it in a headline. Science fiction yes, but set in the near future and in a very recognisable Istanbul, some great characterisation and a... Read more
Published 21 months ago by J. McNeill
1.0 out of 5 stars Labarinthine, cumbersome, imaginitive, uninvolving
I regret that I cannot agree with the overwhelmingly positive reviews before. I found the book hard going from page one, and I have read an awful lot of SF, general fiction and... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely Brilliant.
The Dervish House was the second Ian McDonald book I read (the first being the also excellent Cyberabad Days). Read more
Published on 26 April 2012 by Mr. L. J. Counter
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
I gave up on a previous title by this author - too convoluted, too many characters introduced too quickly. Too hard to follow. Read more
Published on 17 Sep 2011 by V. A. Millett
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