A first novel and a very good one at that. This is a Neal Stephenesque- tale set in a Middle Eastern state that features hackers, state security goons, Islamists, secular dissidents and Djinns and melds technology, philosophy and folklore into a delightful melange. Bonus points for creating a realistic Middle East not some romantic Oriental or paranoid terrorist fantasy.
Leningrad. WWII. A city under siege during the worst winter in its history. Two men -- a naive Jewish teenager arrested for looting and a wordly lothario in the Red Army arrested for desertion -- are slated for execution, but are given a reprieve if they can locate a dozen eggs for the commanding officer's daughter's wedding cake. What follows is an odyssey of a budding friendship as these two mismatched men navigate the dangers of a world gone mad. Cinematic in its scope, and by turns hilarious and horrific, this is a must read.