cover image The Steel Seraglio

The Steel Seraglio

Mike Carey, Linda Carey, and Louise Carey. ChiZine (Diamond, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (440p) ISBN 978-1-92685-153-2

The family Carey (spouses Mike and Linda, daughter Louise) team up to explore the ancient city of Bessa and the horrors that befall it. When the sultan of the city is killed in a religious uprising, his concubines barely escape. Trapped in the desert, they are saved only because one of their number, Zuleika, is actually a trained assassin. Led by Zuleika, strong-willed Gursoon, and Rem, a cursed librarian who was cast out for the crime of preserving knowledge, they wander in search of hope. The Careys nest smaller tales within the larger story and often jump around in time; it’s a good approach, backed by fast pacing and great characters, and the occasional tonal stumble like “What happens in the deep desert, stays in the deep desert” is negligible in light of the thrilling tale. (Mar.)