The Dervish House - Ian McDonald
It's taken me quite a while to finish reading this novel. I came close to abandoning it a few times because I didn't see where it was going and - more particularly - I was having difficulty caring about the characters. However, it eventually started coming together. It even became a bit of a page turner and, surprisingly, I ended up caring about the characters more than I ever thought I could.

Set in Istanbul in the near future, The Dervish House centres on a number of people who live or work in a disused tekke, the dervish house of the title. The various threads of the narrative include a search for an archeological legend - a Mellified Man, a financial scam, a terrorist plot and attempts to find funding to develop a new technology. In addition, there's an isolated young boy, Can, who with the aid of his toy robots, turns detective. The plot also touches on Turkey's recent political history and its history of race relations.

Apart from Can's adventures, what I enjoyed most about this work is the depiction of Istanbul. The descriptions of the city are more interesting than most of the characters and much of the plot. I'm glad I read the novel, if for no other reason than it's reinforced my desire to travel to Turkey some time soon. That said, I doubt I'll be reading it again.