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Publisher's Summary

"A deftly crafted alternate history in the best science fiction tradition, Empire of Lies showcases author Raymond Khoury's genuine flair for originality and a simply riveting narrative storytelling style." (Midwest Book Review)

Empire of Lies is a sweeping thriller in the tradition of The Man in the High Castle, Fatherland, and Underground Airlines from New York Times best-selling author Raymond Khoury.

"The best what-if thriller for a long, long time - makes you think, makes you sweat, and makes you choose, between what is and what might have been." (Lee Child)

Istanbul, 1683: Mehmed IV, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, is preparing to lay siege to Vienna, capital of the Holy Roman Empire, when a mysterious visitor arrives in his bedroom - naked, covered in strange tattoos - to deliver a dangerous, world-changing message.

Paris, 2017: Ottoman flags have been flying over the great city for 300 years, ever since its fall - along with all of Europe - to the empire’s all-conquering army. Notre Dame has been renamed the Fatih Mosque. Public spaces are segregated by gender. And Kamal Arslan Agha, a feted officer in the sultan’s secret police, is starting to question his orders.

Rumors of an impending war with the Christian Republic of America, attacks by violent extremists, and economic collapse have heightened surveillance and arrests across the empire. Tasked with surveying potential threats, Kamal has a heavy caseload - and conscience.

When a mysterious stranger - naked, covered in strange tattoos - appears on the banks of the Seine, Kamal is called in to investigate. But what he discovers is a secret buried in the empire’s past, a secret the Sultan will do anything to silence.

With the mysterious Z Protectorate one step behind, Kamal, together with Nisreen - a fierce human rights lawyer - is caught up in a race across the empire and time itself - a race that could change their world, or destroy it.

Empire of Lies is being published as The Ottoman Secret in the UK.

©2019 Raymond Khoury (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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What listeners say about Empire of Lies

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  • Overall
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Imaginative, Well-Crafted, and Engaging

Khoury has written an enthralling exploration of Western and Middle Eastern culture, that’s precise in its history and plausible in its hypotheses. As a Lebanese American, he intimately knows the traditions and culture of the Middle East as well as the freedom and open-endedness of West, both of which are articulately portrayed in this novel. The tensions in cultures are only surpassed by the tensions in his very human characters who’s thoughts, relationships, and lives you’re intimately connected to. It’s enthralling without resorting to tacky hooks, and insightful without being idealist. It’s a novel that makes you take your place in a history on the brink of being unwritten.

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Overdone melodrama

What could have been an interesting story marred by lack of character development and over written, drawn out inner monologues. witless characters taking pages and pages to come to conclusions the reader saw 100s of pages earlier make for a painful slogfest.

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Good, but hoping for more

I love the premise and had to listen for that reason. Here is what I liked:
- Well crafted characters
- ending was compelling and fit the book

Here is what I didn’t like:
- some of the characters decisions didn’t make sense even though their thinking was spelled out for us.
- too much explaining at times caused the story to bog down.
- a little preachy toward the end. Although it could have been worse.

All in all, a book that with the flaws I mentioned, I finished within a couple weeks anyway. Not sure I’ll read the assumed sequel, but that could change with time... ( no pun intended)

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Raymond Khoury does it again...

This book delivers on all fronts.
Thrilling, entertaining and above all shows that even though various cultures are so different, people are the same everywhere, having the same goals and triggers.
I had to finish the book ASAP, as it kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting more...
Having non-white protagonists is pretty daring and it absolutely works...

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Wanted to love it...

I love Khoury's books - but not this one. Once started, I continued to listen thinking that it would get better... it did after about 7-8 hours, I found it boring for the first half. The story line was really good, but far too lengthy. Perhaps it would be more palatable if I had read the book instead of listening to it.