The City Of Silk And Steel book review.
Husband and wife writing teams seem quite common now, but it’s rarer to see a husband, wife and daughter creating a book together. Mike Carey is famous as the author of the Felix Castor novels; Linda and Louise, though less well-known, are also published authors. This is the first time they’ve all worked together though, and it’s a collaboration that works well.
This is an Arabian Nights -style tale, with layers of stories within stories, as we learn the history of the many characters and how they came to have the skills they need. The novel centres around the mystical “city of women”, a legend which we then see the birth of. When Bessa’s sultan is deposed and ascetics take over the city, his seraglio of concubines (along with their children) are sent into the desert. Condemned to die, the women instead overpower their captors, and begin to create a new life for themselves. Eventually, though, they will return to Bessa, and bring their ideas of a more equal society to life.
It’s impossible to not be aware of various flaws in the storyline while reading this - things go improbably well for the women at each turn, and history shows that overnight conversions from dictatorship to democracy rarely go smoothly. The more modern ideals espoused by the women are explained and justified in the text, but many things still seem awfully convenient. Ultimately, though, you’re likely to care less about these issues than about the many characters – the assassin Zuleika, wise Gursoon, stubborn Imtisar – and their struggles. A captivating book that carries you along on an enjoyable and entertaining journey.
Rhian Drinkwater twitter.com/rhian82
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