The sultan Bokhari Al-Bokhari of Bessa has 365 concubines—until a violent coup puts the city in the hands of the religious zealot Hakkim Mehdad. Hakkim has no use for the pleasures of the flesh: he condemns the women first to exile and then to death. Cast into the desert, the concubines must rely on themselves and each other to escape from the new sultan’s fanatical pursuit. But their goals go beyond mere survival: with the aid of the champions who emerge from among them, they intend to topple the usurper and retake Bessa from the repressive power that now controls it. The assassin, Zuleika, whose hands are weapons. The seer, Rem, whose tears are ink. The wise Gursoon, who was the dead sultan’s canniest advisor. The camel-thief, Anwar Das, who offers his lying tongue to the concubines’ cause. Together, they must forge the women of the harem into an army, a seraglio of steel, and use it to conquer a city. But even if they succeed, their troubles will just be beginning—because their most dangerous enemy is within their own number.
ISBN: 9781926851532 eISBN: 9781927469040
Other CZP books by Mike Carey, Linda Carey, Louise Carey:
“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 . . . [The Steel Seraglio is] a thrilling tale.” —Publishers Weekly
“The Steel Seraglio brings its alternate world of struggle, politics and magic very much to life, transcending the more labored construct of symbol and metaphor in a fairy tale or fable retold only to make some kind of point.” —Locus
“With remarkable elegance, the Careys have enriched meta-fictional allegory into furious pop entertainment—full of sex, passion, violence, and magic. The Steel Seraglio is razor-sharp, cutting straight through the bullshit of bigotry to tell a fun, resonant story.” —Slant Magazine
“The Steel Seraglio is not a work of feminist or utopian theory. Nor is it a historical fantasy, a romance, a thriller, a poem, an allegory, or an epic. Rather, somehow, it is all of these things, mixed with a handful of gnomic utterances, a generous splash of the comic, and permeated by a deep understanding of what it means to weave a fairytale through with vision, to tell stories as a way of making meaning and making change, and to let those stories hang and fall. . . .” —Neon Magazine
“The Steel Seraglio is a masterful, engaging and utterly fascinating story by three wonderful writers. One can only hope they will collaborate again, as this project has proven how well they work together. The reader is really the winner here.” —SF Revu