This is an extraordinary book, ambitious and ingeniously crafted?and a winner of top literary awards in both mystery and science-fiction categories. Author Hideo Furukawa states at the outset that the work is not his; instead he claims to be translating a pre-existing book (of which both writer and publisher are unknown) entitled The Arabian Nightbreeds.
The story takes place in Cairo in the year 1213 by the Hijra calendar, a time when Egypt lives in fear of imminent invasion by Napoleon. The Egyptian elite devise an outlandish last-ditch plan to halt the French forces: their idea is to introduce Napoleon to a collection of legends called The Book of Disasters. The book is rumored to render anyone who reads it insane, making the Egyptians confident they can reverse the flow of history and get Napoleon to withdraw. We are thus presented with two worlds: Cairo on the brink of chaos, and the novel-within-a-novel. Gradually the world of The Book of Disasters starts to intrude upon the real world. Of course, the entire construct is a fiction conceived by Furukawa, who carries off the premise that The Book of Disasters must be as delightful a read as The Thousand and One Nights with his usual panache, displaying extraordinary imagination and skill throughout.
(Vol. 1) ISBN 978-4043636037, 277pages
(Vol. 2) ISBN 978-4043636044, 364pages
(Vol. 3) ISBN 978-4043636051, 407pages