A Master of Djinn

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Pub Date 11 May 2021 | Archive Date Not set


Included in NPR’s Favorite Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books Of The Past Decade (2011-2021)
A Nebula Award Winner
A Ignyte Award Winner
A Compton Crook Award for Best New Novel Winner
A Locus First Novel Award Winner
A RUSA Reading List: Fantasy Winner
A Hugo Award Finalist
A World Fantasy Award Finalist
A NEIBA Book Award Finalist
A Mythopoeic Award Finalist
A Dragon Award Finalist
A Best of 2021 Pick in SFF for Amazon

A Best of 2021 Pick in SFF for Kobo

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark goes full-length for the first time in his dazzling debut novel

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world forty years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and a familiar person from her past, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city—or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…

Novellas by P. Djèlí Clark
The Black God's Drums
The Haunting of Tram Car 015
Ring Shout

The Dead Djinn Universe contains stories set primarily in Clark's fantasy alternate Cairo, and can be enjoyed in any order.

Included in NPR’s Favorite Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books Of The Past Decade (2011-2021)
A Nebula Award Winner
A Ignyte Award Winner
A Compton Crook Award for Best New Novel Winner
A Locus First Novel Award...

Marketing Plan

-Ongoing support for P. Djèlí Clark, featuring pairing with The Haunting of Tram Car 015, “A Dead Djinn in Cairo,” & other works, as well as an extended Digital Preview for consumers.

-Publicity, bespoke mailings & advertising targeting existing fans as well as multi-genre outreach to readers of alternate history & adventurous fantasy, with an enamel pin driven preorder campaign.

-Extensive coverage on Tor.com, which averages 1 million unique visitors and 3 million pageviews per month, with more than half a million newsletter subscribers and over 240K social media followers

-Ongoing support for P. Djèlí Clark, featuring pairing with The Haunting of Tram Car 015, “A Dead Djinn in Cairo,” & other works, as well as an extended Digital Preview for consumers.


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781250267689
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

This is a wild and fantastic book set in Egypt about the time of WWI but in an alternate fantasy. The city of Cairo is flooded with Djinn, they are everywhere using their magic to create a fantastic steampunk-like world of trams and buildings that run themselves and shops that are illusions. Agent Fatma works for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities , who seek to police all things magical .
When a secret society dedicated to all things al-Jahiz, famous in history for opening the worlds between allowing the Djinn to flood the world, are murdered horrendously, Agent Fatma is called on the case. What evolves is a rollercoaster of a chase to catch the imposter who is claiming to have murdered the brotherhood calling himself, al-Jahiz before he can open the portal and call the nine lords who will destroy the world..
This is a fun read that you won't be able to put down. Set in a world that is less familiar than most we read, gives incite into middle eastern folklore and the lore of the djinn. I have read a short story by this author that lead me to try this book and it definitely did not disappoint. I look forward to more adventures from this author!!!

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I am in absolute awe.

P. Djeli Clark's "A Dead Djinn in Cairo" is one of my favourite short stories and when I heard there would be a novel featuring Fatma, I knew I had to get it.

The story is set in an alternate history, set several years after a magician unleashes all sorts of creatures of magic, including Djinns, upon the world and thereby prevents Egypt from becoming a colonised country. Fatma is a suit wearing queer dandy, with impeccable taste in canes and snark. In this novel she's joined by a cast of old and new side characters as they take on an individual claiming to be the Master of Djinn. .

It's a rollicking adventure through a steampunk Egypt, with plenty of light moments and serious ones. It touches on how much of an influence the British Empire had even over a country that it had failed to completely colonise. It also touches on how colonisation isn't always about explicit power.

For anyone going into this hoping there will be a handy glossary or explanations for "foreign" words, you're shit out of luck. I had to do plenty of googling while reading this and lemme tell you, I loved it. I learned so much, got distracted reading wikpedia articles, and appreciated how this book refused to pander to the population of readers who are absolutely happy to learn a fantasy language but baulks at having to look up one non-western word.

This is an unapologetically BIPOC book and all the better for it.

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A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Returning to the world of pre-WWI Cairo, Egypt, where Djinn coexist with humans, where there are old Egyptian gods (or at least their followers with a touch of the divine within them), and a host of wonderful crossovers right out of the pages of 1001 Arabian Knights, Steampunk novels, and good, old-fashioned modern UF, I have to say I'm loving every moment.

It took me a moment to get into the series, but it didn't take that long. The fact is, I like Fatma. She's got that Bowler hat and her investigation skills sharpened and the worldbuilding makes every second here worthwhile.

Better, it builds upon itself, staying nicely grounded while evoking a sense of things going completely out of control. Classic conflicts, but with a spin on it that I personally loved. (No spoilers.)

Suffice to say, I'm now officially hooked. I was into it before, but this full-sized novel made it perfect for me.

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I loved this book! I'm familiar with the two stories that preceded this, but it works well even if you aren't familiar with them. An Alternate Cairo in the early 1900s sets the stage for a better then average mystery with lots of twists and turns. Some you'll see coming, some you won't. I would love any opportunity to spend more time in this world, as it's unique and well thought out.

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Highly recommended for anyone who has liked the novellas / short stories in this magical Cairo universe, probably should be read after the “Haunting” novella and the “Dead Djinn in Cairo” short story. It’s clear that P Djeli Clark is a historian from the way he manages the geopolitical and cultural implications of his magical worlds and the postcolonial opportunities that are opened up by the access to supernatural beings. It felt a little bit like the novel faltered at some points where a novella wouldn’t, but it also allowed for more subtlety. Also, it’s nice to see queer representation of sorts, maybe especially in a world which isn’t primarily “about” that.

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Set in an alternate historical Cairo where djinn live among us, Master of Djinn takes the detective formula and breathes new life into it. The story weaves Egyptian mythology wonderfully with the various types of djinn creating an irresistible magical world. I was reminded of my fascination with Egypt and its history.

Like most good detective stories, the book starts with a mysterious murder. The pacing is perfect, blending action with procedure. To make things more interesting, the main detective is a woman. This adds an illuminating perspective to the setting. The pacing holds steady throughout until the climax. Just when I thought I had figured things out, the story took a welcome twist.

If you have already been introduced to the world of djinn from other recent fantasy series, you will feel at home here. I felt as if the world of Daevabad was transported into the future. The mystery kept me engaged until the big reveal. The final confrontation was incredibly well done and suitably epic. If you have any interest in djinn or magic this is a must read. Though early, I expect this will be on my top list for the year.

While Master of Djinn doesn't come out until May, Clark has a few short novellas you can read to hold you over until then. I plan to read them shortly.

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