Review: The City of a Thousand Faces by Walker Dryden (Tumanbay #1)

The City of a Thousand Faces, Walker Dryden, Tumanbay, podcast, historical novel, saga
Abe Books
Book Depository
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Rating: 10/10

The City of a Thousand Faces, Walker Dryden, Tumanbay, podcast, historical novel, saga

A sweeping historical fantasy saga based on the hit podcast Tumanbay

‘Immersive, rich, compelling and populated with characters who come alive on the page, it will transport you to a different world. I loved it and didn’t want it to end.’ – Sarah Lotz, author of The Three

‘An immersive, engaging start.’ – SFX

Tumanbay: the most magnificent city on earth. The beating heart of a vast empire. A city of dreams – where those who arrived as slaves now reside in the seat of power.

But the wheel of fate is never still: from the gilded rooftops to the dark catacombs, there are secrets waiting to be uncovered.

For Gregor, Master of the Palace Guard, the work of rooting out spies and traitors is never done. His brother, the great General Qulan, must quell a distant rebellion. Whilst Shajah, chief wife to the Sultan, is suspicious that her new maid Sarah is not who she claims to be.

And a mysterious stranger arrives with a gift for the Sultan himself.

The City of a Thousand Faces, Walker Dryden, Tumanbay, podcast, historical novel, saga

A gift that will change Tumanbay forever…


Thank you to Will and Gollancz for sending me an ARC of this amazing gem. All thoughts are my opinion.

This is the literal textbook definition of why I want more fantasy set in a rich and glorious setting of Arabian Fantasy. And I’d love to see more worlds apart from Medieval Europe (I love it, but I want to see more fantasy set in other worlds as well) This is WHAT I WANT TO SEE MORE OF IN FANTASY. Being really honest, this was a book that is so easy to read I was engrossed in this. Amazing writing. Amazing dialogue. Amazing description. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. That’s all I can say. It’s an historical fantasy podcast that in my opinion has elements of alternate history. All I can think is…where can I find more historical fantasy novels like this? Heck, there should be more. I review historical fiction, and fantasy. But I’ve always wanted to see far more diversity in terms of settings: Historical Arabian inspired fantasy, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese. This book has it all. The writing is so good. The characters in this story is epic.

There are bustling marketplaces, kofta, chickpeas wrapped in flatbread, falafel…it’s amazing.

I would say the author really handles characters of children within this novel. The Frog is one of my most favorite characters. This novel has so much mythical status, that you’ll be shocked. The characters in this novel are epic. In a nutshell, I don’t want to spoil it too much since it’s already released, but it’s essentially a downfall. Don’t believe me, the novel itself explodes onto the stage. If you’re a reader that likes epic Arabian fantasy works, this one is DEF worth a buy

At this point, I don’t want to spoil. All I want to you to know is that you will be engrossed into epic deserts, exploring cities of domes and minerats, and discovering the true nature of humanity. You’ll see religion, you’ll see palace guards, you’ll see love and betrayel, this is a book WORTHY of a Netflix adapation or drama. This was a historical fantasy pod-cast? How did I not know of this? The writing, the prose, everything is amazing. Heck, I want a MAP of this book. I want a map of what this worlds look like. All the characters, Ibn, Heaven, Boy, the arrogant Sultan, Daniel, Gregor, Qulan, play an amazing part in this story. And Sarah especially. Watch out for her.

It’s just…AMAZING. Seriously, it took me a lot of time but this is quite a FANTASTIC book, literally saying this. I’ve always wanted more diverse historical/fantasy settings like this and I can’t wait to read the second novel. This is like Aladdin and Arabian nights put together.

Oh and I must rec this: If you like listening to soundtracks when reading, search up two soundtracks: Prince of Persia (2010) and Sinbad the Sailor (Dreamworks Animation, 2000) they really fit the theme when reading this.

Go buy it now!

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