The Bird King

G. Willow Wilson. Grove, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2903-1
Wilson (Alif the Unseen) sets her swashbuckling second novel amid an epic clash between cultures on the Iberian peninsula during the Spanish Inquisition. Fatima, the most beautiful girl at the court of Al Andalus in Granada, is Sultan Abu Abdullah’s favored concubine. But she loves only her friend Hassam, the palace mapmaker, who possesses an uncanny ability to conjure doors to whole new rooms—or even whole new worlds. When the Spanish send a delegation to demand the surrender of the Alhambra from the sultan, they bring with them the Baronesa Luz. Invited to the harem to be entertained, Luz gains the confidence of Fatima, but after Hassam’s gifts are carelessly revealed, Fatima discovers Luz is part of the Inquisition. When Luz condemns Hassam as a sorcerer, he and Fatima are forced to flee. They make one harrowing escape after another (and another) by land and sea, helped by the vampire-jinn Vikram (who takes the form of a dog); his fickle feline sister, Azalel; Gwennec the ill-fated monk; and various other fantastical entities. Fatima remains the hero throughout, her courage and loyalty the only attributes that can save them. Though marketed as literary fiction, this book is pure fantasy, and teen readers especially will relish suspending their disbelief as Fatima and Hassam careen from one violent fray to the next. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Assoc. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/10/2018
Release date: 03/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-0-8021-4684-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-978649-22-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-978649-21-7
Library Binding - 603 pages - 978-1-4328-6719-5
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