Hail! My Hearty Bookish Beasties..T’is Freakish Friday and time for another look into the dark abyss of the weird, the creepy and the just plain freaky. Our Gem this evening is black as onyx with strange red lines that seem to form letters in some ancient language as they crisscross this stone. It’s weight is heavy and a feeling of foreboding emanates from it..feel it thrum in your palm as you hold it?
Our Gem Maker is Raymond Khoury and he has given us a tale more thrilling than the Arabian Knights. So let us put this Gem on a pedestal where we can safely observe it and look more deeply into those red lines running across it’s black surface.
What if….What if the world you live in..your present day reality turned out not to be history, but what history was made to be? That perhaps you were never meant to be born, but because someone stroked a different butterfly one day and cause him to beat his wings three milliseconds before another, here you are. Reality is now completely different. Your country, your government, your religion..the world as a whole is a completely different from what it should have been? This is Khoury’s “Empire of Lies”.
A mysterious being, looking much like a naked man, but covered in mysterious tattoos, awakens the Sultan Mehmed in the middle of a night in 1682 and mesmerizing him with tricks, seemingly psychic powers and a promise of defeating the European Generals and Polish Emperor, Leopold I, gets his attention. The Sultan listens. A year later, instead of a crippling defeat from which the Ottoman Empire would never recover, Mehmed pulls a surprise attack the world had never seen. The world now belongs to the Ottomans, and in turn, to Islam.
Khoury then brings us to Paris, in the year 2017. All of Europe is Islamic. The Ottoman Empire lives. America has a place in this world, but she is now called the CRA – The Christian Republic of America, where there are only white people (no one else is allowed in and everyone must be Christian). I must say something here..I do not know why in so many of these stories, when someone wants America to be the bad guy, they write a picture of a Christian nation that is racist. It’s tiresome, over used and quite frankly, it’d be nice to see something new for a change. This story is good enough that Khoury didn’t need to go there. I’d have given the book 5 Flames if not for this.
Other than tired cliche, I liked this story. It was a great ‘What if’ romp. The main characters are solid, the story is tight and I wasn’t sure what to expect from one minute to the next. I like a story that keeps me guessing. I also liked the fact that Khoury shows us that no matter who is running a society, we will never have Utopia. I would tell you more about why I liked it, but I don’t do spoilers and there is no way to spout on in detail my likes without letting the cat out of the bag. But, you really, really need to get a copy and find out for yourself.
Until tomorrow I remain your humble Book Dragon, Drakon T. Longwitten
I received a copy from the Tor-Forge/Macmillan via Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.