In this alternate history, Ottoman flags have been flying over Paris for three hundred years, ever since its fall—along with all of Europe—to the empire’s all-conquering army. Rumors of an impending war with the Christian Republic of America, attacks by violent extremists, and economic collapse have all given secret police officer Kamal Arslan Agha a heavy caseload—and conscience.
Khoury has managed to put together a novel that is a brilliant mix of speculative historical fiction with a dash of murder mystery/crime and sci-fi thrown in. He ticks all those boxes, and the result is a suspenseful and awe-inspiring work that asks readers to check their brain and any prejudices or preconceived notions at the door, and just let this book wash over them like a wave of new knowledge ... Well done, Mr. Khoury!
At the core of Mr. Khoury’s complex multi-plot...is his vision of a modern Islamic state, with its good points—the duty of charity for all believers, without the indignity of street-begging—and its bad ones: rigorous repression, public beheadings. Good idea, bad idea? As with sci-fi at its best, the real excitement comes not from the thrills on the surface, but from the ideas underneath.
Alternate histories don’t get much better than this thought-provoking mind bender from Khoury ... Superior and plausible worldbuilding matches an ingeniously imaginative conceit. This ranks as a classic of the genre.