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8/10
The Spinner’s Tale – Review
Action Thriller, Fiction / July 2, 2015

This review first appeared at Liberty Books. Synopsis Sheikh Ahmed Uzair Sufi is one of the most feared men in Pakistan, a top Jihadi militant, who believes in nothing save his own limitless scope for violence. But no one suspected this future back in 1994, when he was simple old Ausi and leaves school with his cricket mad best friend Eddy to start a new life. While Eddy goes to college in America, Ausi’s life takes dangerous and unexpected turns. The two friends stay in touch even as they pursue vastly different lives, their shared passion for cricket and nostalgia for their school days binding them together. Even as Ausi treads down a darker path, what will happen to their friendship? Omar Shahid Hamid, bestselling author of The Prisoner, takes us on another thrilling, sinister ride, stretching from Karachi to Kashmir to Afghanistan, in The Spinner’s Tale. There are accounts, treatise and memoirs that deal with reality, going deep into the psyche and culture of the people supplemented with facts and figures to prove a point. Then comes a fiction, essentially doing the same but hitting where it matters the most … the reader’s’ heart. The Spinner’s Tale, the second…

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7.2/10
Last of the Tasburai – Review
Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction / April 6, 2015

First published in 2014, Last of the Tasburai by Rehan Khan is an epic fantasy novel that combines sword fighting and combat tactics of Samurai with the teachings of Sufi mystics. Tasburai, an order of warriors with near-holy purpose, have now become a tool of oppression under tyrannical regime of Avanist Republic. Synopsis Adan, an apprentice of the legendary Tasburai order, is training hard to become an elite warrior in the service of the Avanist Republic. He’s horrified to discover the Republic’s authoritarian leaders are reshaping the Tasburai as a tool of persecution. Innocent people are being imprisoned. He didn’t sign up for this. Feisty young thief Ylva robs the rich of the walled city of Kronnoburg. She’s helping her father Olaf, one time mercenary, redistribute wealth to the needy. But when she steals a Tasburai sword, her world turns upside down. Meanwhile, captain Rikard, a lowly commoner, discovers a secret plan by the Avanist Republic to overthrow Kronnoburg. Only nobody believes him, including Princess Elsta, its naïve ruler, who just wants to get married to her dashing prince. And finally, Tasburai grandmaster Suri-Yi, sword of the Avanist Republic, is trying to become … a better person, which is difficult,…

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7.4/10
The White Queen – Review
Fiction, Historical Fiction / January 31, 2015

First published in 2009, The White Queen is the sixth book by Philippa Gregory and first in The Cousins’ War series. The story explores 15th century England and power struggles that rocked the country between Lancasters and Yorkists, with meddling of foreign entities and betrayals from within. The book has all the right elements and is no wonder a best seller. Following the story of a young widow Elizabeth Woodville, the reader experiences the rise of a house from common breed to that of royalty and nobility, and pay the price for such a dramatic elevation. Synopsis The tale of one woman’s ambitious ascent to royalty during the Wars of the Roses and the unsolved mystery around her sons’ imprisonment in the Tower. The first in a stunning new series, The Cousins War, is set amid the tumult and intrigue of The War of the Roses. Internationally bestselling author Philippa Gregory brings this family drama to colourful life through its women, beginning with the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen The White Queen tells the story of a common woman who ascends to royalty by virtue of her beauty, a woman who rises to the demands of her position…

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8.3/10
The Architect’s Apprentice – Review
Fiction, Historical Fiction / January 24, 2015

First published in 2014, The Architect’s Apprentice explores 16th century Istanbul swinging between artistic glory and religious bigotry, with an Indian boy called Jahan trying to find its place in society and a rare white elephant called Chota to company. The novel brings to life the historic city and how the renowned Master Sinan, the Chief Royal Architect, created majestic buildings that give Istanbul its beauty. Synopsis ‘There were six of us: the master, the apprentices and the white elephant. We built everything together…’ Sixteenth century Istanbul: a stowaway arrives in the city bearing an extraordinary gift for the Sultan. The boy is utterly alone in a foreign land, with no worldly possessions to his name except Chota, a rare white elephant destined for the palace menagerie. So begins an epic adventure that will see young Jahan rise from lowly origins to the highest ranks of the Sultan’s court. Along the way he will meet deceitful courtiers and false friends, gypsies, animal tamers, and the beautiful, mischievous Princess Mihrimah. He will journey on Chota’s back to the furthest corners of the Sultan’s kingdom and back again. And one day he will catch the eye of the royal architect, Sinan, a…