The city gates

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Fez remains a walled city, as it was in 1924 when Russell and Holmes walked its streets, as it was for the centuries before that.  Cars are kept out by the high adobe bricks, the population kept in by the press of the walls.  The gates,

although now largely symbolic, remain places of gathering and transition as much now as they were a thousand years past.  Russell meets the first of the city’s gates from the inside of the city:

I soon came to the explanation for this district’s relative bustle: a city gate, very new and strong-looking, ornate with mosaic tile (zellij, the translator in my head whispered). Beyond it was clearly a more modern part of this city, with men in suits, the sign for a bank, several horse-­carts, even a motorcar. And: soldiers.

I leant casually against a wall. Armed French soldiers, with the bored stance and alert gaze of guards the world around. As I watched, they moved forward to intercept a man on a white mule, who freely handed over the immensely long Jezail rifle he held and continued inside. It would seem that arms were not permitted in the city.

To read more from Garment of Shadows, go here.

To order a copy—hardback, audio, e-book, or signed—go here.


  1. Janet Evans says:

    So excited to read this!

  2. Susan Abe says:

    I love the fact that reading Russell makes me feel smarter.

  3. You are tantaliziing us with this glimpses, both of the sory itself and the environments ..

  4. Roxanne says:

    I have really enjoyed your photos of Fez. The 2nd one in this post is lovely and brings Russell’s words to life for me.

    I’ve decided to harves, print out and collate all of these Fez photos to complement Garment of Shadows.

  5. Roxanne says:

    That is, “harvest” the photos …

  6. Claudia Bradley says:

    Fez is similar today, a wonderful view of what Russell and Holmes experienced in 1924.
    However…. outside the city walls, the French were bringing major changes: (1912-1927 Moulay Youssef et Lyautey au début du protectorat du Maroc)

  7. kirsten says:

    I hadn’t realized you were posting pictures of the settings for “A Garment of Shadows”. It really adds a richness to my imagination when I read the excerpts. Very much looking forward to the new book!

  8. As if I didn’t have enough history reading to do this summer… Your books always make me want to dig deeper into the background of the stories.

  9. I can just feel the heat and smell the mixed scents of this place(some good, some bad). Your writing captures everything. These pictures are wonderful. Of all the characters I have met in books lately, I believe I would truly like to get to know Mary Russell. Looking forward to the newest story.

  10. Betty B says:

    I love the theme of city gates, an entry into a new world. I see that as a metaphor for life choices and I would love to do a poster of different city “gates” in my life.

    Keep on writing so we can keep on reading
    Betty B

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