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About the Author

Anthony O'Neill was born in Melbourne and currently lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. His novels, published to acclaim in 17 languages, include Scheherazade (2001), a revisionist Arabian Nights epic; The Lamplighter (2003), a philosophical tale of the macabre set in 1880s Edinburgh; The Empire of Eternity (2006), a mystery involving Napoleon Bonaparte and the early years of Egyptology; The Unscratchables (2009), a pop-culture satire featuring anthropomorphic dog and cat detectives; The Dark Side (2016), a hardboiled crime novel set in a city on the moon; and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek (2017), a sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novella.


'O'Neill writes with authority, blending fact, fiction and fable in this brilliant debut ... a spirited and linguistic satire ... I enjoyed this book immensely. It is so alive you can almost smell the air.' The Independent on Sunday
The many twists and turns propel the story in a manner worthy of the novel's eponymous heroine; there are enough cliff-hangers here to satisfy the most jaded of readers ... O'Neill absorbs his research into a novel of over 500 pages that never flaunts its learning. Scenes set in the teeming streets of Baghdad or during the sailors' punishing trek through the desert are especially vivid ... This is a rousing read, and anything but pale. * The Good Book Guide *
A remarkable and mysterious first novel, elegantly written and vividly characterised. Riffing on the Arabian Nights has been done before, but never with as much aplomb. * Publishing News *
Mastery of storytelling is its hallmark. He relates a thrilling, complicated quest. O'Neill is boldly and rightly convinced of his power to engross us, and cheeky enough to add to Scheherazade's tally of 1001 tales. * The Herald Sun *
Like his heroine, O'Neill knows how to tell a story. * The Times *
O'Neill's lovingly crafted debut novel stands head and shoulders above the current run of ancient historical novels. * The Age *
Story is all in this novel, and at two different levels: at the visceral level of the seductive, suspenseful plot and at the theoretical level where the role and function and operation of the story are demonstrated and discussed ... A prodigious and most enjoyable feat of the imagination. * The Adelaide Advertiser *
O'Neill mixes fact, fiction and fable into an exuberant, witty tale about magic, vengeance and the nature of storytelling. * The Sydney Morning Herald *
Clever, entertaining and stimulating. * Vogue *

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