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The Father Of Locks

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Baghdad, the capital of the world, is a city crowded with stories, and founded on secrets. But some secrets, and some stories, can be deadly...Ismail al-Rawiya is a thief who dreams of being a poet. He is drawn to Baghdad, and to the court of the Khalifah Harun al-Rashid, where fabulous wealth can be attained by those who survive the rivalries, the politics and the whims o ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published 2009 by Dedalus Limited
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This is a gem of a book - a must for any lover of Arabian Nights as myself, written in its style as stories within stories and taking place where else but in the Baghdad of Harun Al Rashid, but with a modern sensibility that fits the story perfectly.

While the plot despite its side-complications is fairly predictable, that is not the main attraction but the atmosphere, the stories themselves and of course the characters.

Most notably the title one, Abu Nuwas aka "Father of Locks" so named for h
Simon Fairbanks
"I have an idea for a story which will contain all the other stories in the world," says one character in Andrew Killeen's debut Arabian detective novel, The Father of Locks.

In many ways, this is exactly what Killeen himself has achieved. The Father of Locks is fundamentally a detective story but this primary plot is often put on hold whilst a character tells another story to provide back-story or history or religious fable. In this respect, it shares much with the Middle-Eastern fairy tales of
Another day, another Orientalist mystery! Andrew Killeen's book is almost custom-made for the Dedalus imprint, in its exploration of lugubrious living and the nuances of history. Set in Baghdad (largely) around 800AD, this is a very descriptive tale of poetry, rivalry and rooting with its roots in reality. Most of the characters existed, and a glossary at the end of the book provides potted histories of those mentioned.

The problem with this book is - like The One Thousand and One Nights which K
Last year Andrew Killeen gave a talk at our local library and I quickly fell under the spell of his story-telling skills. As with The Khalifah’s Mirror, this is structured as stories within stories in the fashion of The Thousand and One Nights though without fantasy elements. In this début novel by Killeen there is more of the back story of its narrator, Ismail al-Rawiya, who had been born in Cornwall but kidnapped by pirates as a boy and sold into slavery. There is also a much appreciated listi ...more
This was an interesting book gifted to by a friend (Thanks again!). I probably wouldn't have gotten around to this one if he hadn't pushed me to read it.

Its middle eastern fantasy, which I haven't read much of and quite the crazy ride.

Give it a spin!
I loved this reckless jumble of stories gathered around a rather perfunctory plot involving child kidnapping and international espionage. It's wildly imaginative with inventively sketched characters and an exotic historical feel - very enjoyable.
Almost written to strict Dedalus guidelines, this is mighty fine Gaiman-ish story-telling in the 1001 Nights (or Arabian Nightmare) style. Nice to see Islam as civilisation and the Christian West as barbarous, traitorous gits too.
Dec 01, 2014 Alex rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
Great, interesting story set in Baghdad of the Abbasid Caliphate.
Paperback Percy London
If you enjoyed One Thousand and One Nights...
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The Khalifah's Mirror Fragments: Stories and Poems Reflecting Experiences of the Great War The Father of Locks The Khalifah's Mirror (Original fiction In Paperback)

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“I formed the impression that nature had given him little patience for fools, while society had cruelly decreed that he spend a great deal of time in their company. Consequently he lived most of his life in a state of simmering annoyance.” 0 likes
“Where would I be if I went round paying my debts? What would happen to my reputation? You might as well ask me to give up drinking, or blaspheming, or sodomy!” 0 likes
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