It begins with an explosion. Another day, another bus bomb. Everyone, it seems, is after a piece of Turkey. But the shockwaves from this random act of 21st-century pandemic terrorism will ripple further and resonate louder than just Enginsoy Square.
Welcome to the world of The Dervish House; the great, ancient, paradoxical city of Istanbul, divided like a human brain, in the great, ancient, equally paradoxical nation of Turkey. The year is 2027 and Turkey is about to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its accession to the European Union; a Europe that now runs from the Arran Islands to Ararat. Population pushing 100 million, Istanbul swollen to 15 million, Turkey is the largest, most populous and most diverse nation in the EU, but also one of the poorest and most socially divided. It's a boom economy, the sweatshop of Europe, the bazaar of central Asia, the key to the immense gas wealth of Russia and Central Asia.
The ancient power struggle between Sunni and Shia threatens like a storm: Ankara has watched the Middle East emerge from 25 years of sectarian conflict. So far it has stayed aloof. A populist prime minister has called a referendum on EU membership. Tensions run high. The army watches, hand on holster. And a Galatasary Champions' League football game against Arsenal stokes passions even higher.
The Dervish House is seven days, six characters, three interconnected story strands, one central common core - the eponymous dervish house, a character in itself - that pins all these players together in a weave of intrigue, conflict, drama, and a ticking clock of a thriller.
British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Award, 2011
"This is a brilliant, jewelled machine of a novel in which lives trigger events in other lives, in a sequence that skirts chaos and disaster, but ends with gorgeous order." (The Independent, UK)
"McDonald takes the history of Istanbul, both real and imagined, and forges a multi-faceted and fascinating character out of the city itself; then he adds in the experiences of six people whose lives are about to intersect in the most unexpected ways…. McDonald creates a magnificent knot of intrigue, thrills, and daring adventures, with the flair for character and setting that make his tales so satisfying to indulge in." (Booklist)
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Listen, but then read
Sci-fi and a bit of anthropology - nice!