The Bird King
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The Bird King

3.82 (297 ratings by Goodreads)
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From award-winning author G. Willow Wilson, The Bird King is an epic journey set during the reign of the last sultan in the Iberian peninsula at the height of the Spanish Inquisition.



G. Willow Wilson's debut novel Alif the Unseen was an NPR and Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and it established her as a vital American Muslim literary voice. Now she delivers The Bird King, a stunning new novel that tells the story of Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Hassan has a secret--he can draw maps of places he's never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan's surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan's gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls? As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 440 pages
  • 150 x 211 x 38mm | 522g
  • English
  • 080212903X
  • 9780802129031
  • 392,893

Review quote

Praise for The Bird King



"Steeped in magical realism . . . [and] enchanting otherworldly trappings, it is primarily a novel of ideas. [The Bird King] grapples with who we are, how we love, [and] why we worship . . . [with] prose so vivid and original that one can only read it with envy."--Tor.com



"The Bird King is marvelous in the deepest sense--a treasure-house of a novel, thrilling, tender, funny, and achingly gorgeous. I loved it."--Lev Grossman, author of the Magicians trilogy



"A gorgeous, ambitious meditation on faith, platonic love, magic and even storytelling itself, with a trio of unforgettable personalities serving as its beating, endlessly vital heart. The Bird King is a triumph . . . Wilson has once again proven that she's one of the best fantasy writers working today, with a book that's just waiting for readers to get happily lost in its pages."--BookPage



"A fun, immersive adventure that moves at a brisk pace through lush settings, across dangerous terrain, and eventually out to the open sea . . . [The Bird King] will appeal to readers of S. A. Chakraborty's City of Brass, Helene Wecker's The Golem and the Jinni, and Naomi Novik's fairy tale-esque Uprooted."--Booklist (starred review)



"The Bird King takes a time period that's passed into cliché and makes it new and strange again. In this novel, the real runs alongside the fantastic, one informing the other, G. Willow Wilson's eye for detail and her titanic imagination pumping together like pistons. She's incredible. The Bird King has big things to say about states and souls, and it's going to take you on a rollicking ride while it says them. I was fascinated and riveted and, by the end, deeply moved."--Robin Sloan, author of Sourdough

"A breathtaking historical fantasy . . . To say Wilson is a talented storyteller does not adequately capture the magnificent dimensions of her work . . . The Bird King [is] a more-than-worthy follow-up to Alif the Unseen. It's not necessary to read one before the other, but only a fool would miss them both."--Shelf Awareness

"Teeming with secrets, violence, and magic, G. Willow Wilson's characters come alive in a backdrop of 15th century Spain that is at once sinister and lush. By turns humorous and heartbreaking, the world held me captive and I'm haunted by it still."--Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes



"A lovely fable set during the final days of the Reconquista . . . [The Bird King is] a thoughtful and beautiful balance between the real and the fantastic."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)



"[A] swashbuckling second novel amid an epic clash between cultures."--Publishers Weekly



PRAISE FOR ALIF THE UNSEEN



"G. Willow Wilson has a deft hand with myth and with magic, and the kind of smart, honest writing mind that knits together and bridges cultures and people. You should read what she writes."--Neil Gaiman, author of Stardust and American Gods, on Alif the Unseen



"[G. Willow Wilson] works magic . . . Ms. Wilson has not set out to copy J.K. Rowling's books or anyone else's; she has her own fertile imagination and fanciful narrative style."--New York Times



"Wilson has a Dickensian gift for summoning a city and peopling it with memorable characters."--Washington Post



"Wilson seems to delight in establishing, then confounding, any expectations readers may have . . . For those who view American fiction as provincial, or dominated by competent but safe work, Wilson's novel offers a resounding, heterodox alternative."--New York Times Book Review



"Alif the Unseen is one of those novels that has you rushing to find what else the author has written, and eagerly anticipating what she'll do next."--Matt Ruff, author of Fool on the Hill and The Mirage



"Alif the Unseen richly rewards believers in the power of the written word."--Seattle Times



"Wilson refreshingly, and without condescension, uses Islamic folklore to tell a story of state oppression, resistance and hope."--Guardian (UK)



"Wilson's voice is magical and effortless, blending real-world issues with the wonderment of Arabian fairy tales."--Philadelphia Inquirer



"A ferocious new voice in fiction."--BookPage
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About G Willow Wilson

G. Willow Wilson is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Alif the Unseen, the memoir The Butterfly Mosque, and the graphic novels Cairo, Air, and Vixen. She co-created the celebrated comic book series Ms. Marvel starring Kamala Khan, winner of the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story, and recently debuted as writer of the Wonder Woman comics. She currently lives in Seattle.
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Rating details

297 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 28% (82)
4 41% (121)
3 22% (65)
2 6% (19)
1 3% (10)
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