The Burning Gates

The Burning Gates

A Makana Mystery

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
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In Cairo, private investigator Makana is called into the office of his new client, a powerful art dealer known as Kasabian. Kasabian wants him to track down a famous painting that went missing from Baghdad during the US invasion. All the dealer can tell Makana is that the piece was smuggled into Egypt by an Iraqi war criminal who doesn't want to be found.

The world of art is a far cry from the shady streets and alleyways of the Cairo that Makana knows, but he soon finds out that this side of the city has its own dark underbelly. As he sets out to find the lost work of art--and those involved in the case begin to die in horrific ways--Makana finds himself entangled in a mystery that many have attempted to keep hidden.

The trail will lead him back into the dark days of the war and threaten to send the new life he has built for himself up in flames.

Publisher: New York :, Bloomsbury,, 2015.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9781620408865
Characteristics: 376 pages ; 22 cm.

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PoMoLibrary Jul 30, 2015

From our 2015 #80DayRead Summer Reading Club traveler Bill: Interesting mystery set in Cairo with a Sudanese investigator. Involves antiques taken from Iraq and being sold on the black market.

g
gvenkatesh
Jun 18, 2015

The author continues the Makana series with plots set amidst contemporary historical events in the Middle East, this one in the aftermath of the Iraq war.

With Cairo as the locale, he manages to capture the political and social chaos of the region and of the times superbly in an engaging read.

The protagonist continues to get involved in situations that always seem way over his head that can surely lead to his demise and yet comes through largely unscathed. The plot in this book has twists and turns which keeps one turning pages almost to the very end. The language is fluent and rich in description convincingly transporting the reader into that murky world.

Unfortunately, the ending of this book disintegrates into twists/scenes that seems written for Hollywood (or worse Bollywood) B-movie finales and undermines the book considerably.

The author is good at weaving in regional political and social commentary into a plot and is able to maintain tension without gratuitous violence or gore for most of the book. But, like in his previous novel, The Ghost Runner, the descent into obligatory over-done violence in contrast to rest of the book seems gratuitous and amateurish at best.

This book contains even more unfavorable commentary on the US political/military motivations and actions than the previous book. It is not uncommon to find such views of the US outside the US (or even amongst some of the cynics within the US). However, it may not sit well with the part of the US population that is insular and tends to get blindly defensive about the US. But then such audiences are unlikely to be reading anything outside of Tom Clancy and such, let alone a novel by a "foreigner". So, it should not be an issue for anyone considering reading this.

a
athena14
Apr 19, 2015

Bilal's using the name of an American pro athlete for a character, to show that Makana lives in another culture, was distracting to this reader.

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