Escape from Baghdad!

By Saad Hossain

Rating: 3 stars

Dagr and Kinza are two very different people, thrown together in the mayhem that is post-invasion Baghdad. Dagr is a professor of economics while Kinza is a low-life. Losing everything from their old lives, they get along now selling small scale arms they get from an American soldier, Hoffman. Then fate drops Hamid, a senior member of the Saddam regime, into their laps and the two some decide to try to get out of Baghdad to Mosul, where Hamid claims is a hidden treasure.

This is an odd book. Part gritty war story, part fantasy, part Da Vinci Code-esque thriller. It certainly doesn’t skimp on showing the horrors of war, including atrocities committed by Americans as well as the various rebel factions. And yet, as the person who loaned me the book commented, at times it had the feel of an Ian McDonald book, (no bad thing, both of us are fans of Mr McDonald), for me especially the sequences involving the old Mother Davala, and the impossible home in which she lives.

For me, the plot involving a secretive sect after a mysterious artefact that could hold the secret to immortality was almost less successful than the characters, as we follow the bewildered professor, the psychotic cut-throat and the charming soldier as their lives get even harder than usual in wartorn Baghdad. It’s those sections, that examine what war can do to an individual, a community and, ultimately, a society, that are the strongest for me.

Book details

ISBN: 9781939419248
Publisher: The Unnamed Press
Year of publication: 2012

Powered by WordPress