rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a great read.
In an alt-Alexandria (Egypt, not Virginia, and part of an Ottoman empire that lasts past the present day and into the near future), a minor Seattle criminal finds himself treated as royalty and gets implicated in murder. He has very little idea of who he is supposed to be, and there is dangerous conspiracies on all sides.
Much of the book is told in flashback, where we learn of his past in Seattle. I found these tedious at first. He seemed more three dimensional in the book's present of El Iskandryria than the spaced out small time crook in Seattle. As the book goes on, you get a better sense of him in both places, and the flashbacks stopped annoying me, and I became engaged in both threads.
The setting contained a nice mix of historic plus modern Muslim with a cyberpunky youth culture and high tech surveillance. The protagonist is the classic outsider, but with the twist of everyone thinks he's a high powered insider.
The plot is very noir detective, and the characters end up very memorable and over the top.
I will definitely read Jon Courtenay Grimwood again.
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