Book of the Week: The Bird King

The Bird King
G. Willow Wilson
9780802129031 | $38.95 CAD
HC | 440 pp. | Available Now
Grove/Atlantic, distributed by PGC

The Bird King is—in case you couldn’t tell from the cover—a magical book. G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen, Ms. Marvel) will whisk you away into the enchanting but ominous setting of sultry 15th century Spain. Fatima is concubine to the last sultan of Muslim Iberia, residing in the palaces of the Alhambra along with her best friend Hassan, a gay cartographer with strange and magical abilities. When Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile approach to negotiate the sultan’s surrender to their Catholic empire, Hassan and Fatima realize that the Spanish Inquisition will not allow them to survive. They escape and make their way across Spain under guidance of a jinn, being pursued by a woman who’s a cross between Inspector Javert and Dolores Umbridge. Yeah, she’s that bad. The adventure forces them to confront their darkest selves, what they believe to be real, and how far they’re willing to go to preserve their freedom.

The Bird King has received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist. Wilson’s last novel won her the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, so we can expect great things from this second work of magic. As Neil Gaiman said of Wilson, “you should read what she writes.”

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