On this episode of Everything is Canon, Steve talks to P. Djèlí Clark all about his brand new novel, his first published one in fact, A Master of Djinn, which has him returning to his very popular alternate Cairo fantasy universe and characters already established in novelette’s such as A Dead Djinn in Cairo and The Haunting of Tram Car 015.
Here’s the summary…
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…
With its steampunk aesthetic, anti-colonialism message, razor-sharp wit, and a cast of characters you won’t soon forget, A Master of Djinn takes some of the familiar, mixes in lots of the unfamiliar, and creates one of the best whodunnits you’ll read this year.
You don’t necessarily have to have read the shorts prior to reading A Master of Djinn, but if you have, or plan to, the payoff is huge as Clark rewards those who have spent time in his Cairo with an incredible number of nods, winks, callback’s, and more.
We talk about his roots with FIYAH Literary Magazine, which TV series he thought had a perfect ending, what makes Fatma so great, A Master of Djinn of course, and much, much more.