Book Review: The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain

The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain. Tor, 2019. 9781250209115. 167pp.

After thousands of years, Melek Ahmar, the Lord of Tuesday, Most August Rajah of the Djinn, awakens in his stone sarcophagus. The spells that kept him there have rotted, like most of the earth. He soon meets a Hume who refuses to tremble before him, a pistachio eating Gurkha named Bhan Gurung who lives in a hovel in the mountains, with enough tech to create a healthy microclimate around him. Ghurung tells the djinn of Kathmandu, whose citizens are now governed by an impartial AI named Karma. They set out for the city because Melek Ahmar needs worshipers and is determined to rule again.

Soon Melek Ahmar is trying to raise hell there, to have a little fun and get some respect. Gurung wants revenge, but that comes later. There’s a well-behaved sheriff in town, and he and his lover, a high ranking soldier, may be all that stand between Karma and the Lord of Tuesday. It’s hard to raise hell, even for a djinn, in a paradise where everyone can pretty much have what they want. Maybe things aren’t quite as perfect as they seem in Kathmandu, though.

Gurung is a hilariously deadpan man who stands out in his crowd of zeros — he not only has zero karma points, he’s removed the implants that allow him to be recognized as a citizen and to interact with the virtuality. Melek Ahmar is as full of himself and his power as he is with disdain for everyone else, and is constantly spouting insults and bragging. The sheriff is a puzzle, one of the only folks still determined to contribute to a society where no contribution is required.

This is a fun, very readable novella.


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