Grounded in the modern Middle East but bridging virtual reality, history, and mythology, this well-paced novel brings together a thought-provoking array of characters, each with a powerful moral compass that points in a slightly different direction. The suspenseful plot combines the diverse patterns of Haroun And The Sea Of Stories,Reamde , Un Lun Dun, and Jitterbug Perfume in a satisfying, original balance.
— From Emily A.
This dazzling, superbly written debut combines the best of techno-thriller and the fantastic to create a story that is at once very relevant and timely, and yet harkens back to the past. Modern and ancient Egypt and the Middle East transition perfectly in Wilson's hands--one of the best books of 2012!
— From Vlad
July 2012 Indie Next List
“Alif is an Arab-Indian computer hacker who gets into deep trouble when he tries to erase himself from the web. His troubles only increase when he received an ancient text - written by the mythological Jinn - that may be the key to unlocking a whole new way of programming. This smartly written, action-packed thriller is reminiscent of the early works of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson. Unpredictable to the very end - I could not put it down!”
— James Wilson, Octavia Books, LLC, New Orleans, LA
"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
"Driven by a hot ionic charge between higher math and Arabian myth, G. Willow Wilson conjures up a tale of literary enchantment, political change, and religious mystery. Open the first page and you will be forced to do its bidding: To read on."--Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked
and Out of Oz
In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients--dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups--from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif--the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the state's electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover's new fianc is the "Hand of God," as they call the head of state security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days
, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.
With shades of Neal Stephenson, Philip Pullman, and The Thousand and One Nights
, Alif the Unseen
is a tour de force debut--a sophisticated melting pot of ideas, philosophy, technology, and spirituality smuggled inside an irresistible page-turner. " A] Harry Potter-ish action-adventure romance that] unfolds against the backdrop of the Arab Spring. . . . Improbably charming . . . A bookload of wizardry and glee."--Janet Maslin, The New York Times