Lavie Tidhar’s stunning, thrilling UNHOLY LAND continues its assault on Best of the Year lists

The notices pile up for Lavie Tidhar’s enthralling UNHOLY LAND.

THE GUARDIANCRIME TIME (selected by Maxim Jakubowski without comment), and THE SPECULATIVE SHELF all select the novel as one of the best books of the year.

THE GUARDIAN (Adam Roberts):

Lavie Tidhar’s UNHOLY LAND (Tachyon) extrapolates from the historical plan to establish Israel in east Africa rather than Palestine. It’s a gripping thriller: clever, bloody, ironic and twisted.


UNHOLY LAND is a stunning achievement. It is packed to the brim with engaging ideas and features a captivating story that I could not stop puzzling over. There is such an ethereal and intoxicating quality to the story and Tidhar’s writing that I found myself floating through the chapters, not always sure what was happening, or whose perspective we were seeing, but knowing that I wanted to keep reading. The intersecting story threads twisted my brain into a pretzel and I loved it.

Photo: Kevin Nixon. © Future Publishing 2013

THE BOOK LOVER’S BOUDOIR praises the work.

I really enjoyed this book though it baffled me at times. UNHOLY LAND is about a dozen different things at once and I never really knew what to expect. In one breath I was reading a noir mystery then the next page I was caught up in an alternate history and before I could say WTF I found myself reading about multiple earths. This is truly remarkable and unique book. I had no idea what was going to happen or where the author was going to lead (or drag me) next.This is a truly unique and interesting reading experience. I loved every page.I definitely want to read more by this author.

BOOKS, BONES & BUFFY enjoys the challenging book.

Tidhar’s latest is a challenging but ultimately satisfying read that deals with histories, both real and imagined.

Reading a Lavie Tidhar book is like being in a fever dream. Events, characters, places and impressions swirl around you, creating a sense of unease, or confusion, or sadness. Tidhar pieces the parts of his stories together with magical thread, and connections which seem tenuous at first turn out to make sense later on. I’m in awe of his writing abilities, and although this book may be classified as speculative fiction, I can see this sitting comfortably on a shelf alongside more traditional literary works.

For more info on UNHOLY LAND, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Sarah Anne Langton