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The Deborah Harris Agency



By: YANAI, Hagar

Young Adult, 2006

One night a thief breaks the lab of Dr. Emanuel Margolis, a prominent scientist who is working to put an end to all of humanity’s ills. He steals medicine that was intended to treat Dr. Margolis’s wife, Tammy, who is languishing in a psychiatric hospital. Their children, Jonathan and Ella Margolis, follow the thief to Babylon, where they find themselves in a magical world where magic and science, demons and machines coexist.

Babylon is ruled by The Order of the Hashdarpans, which battles the Plague of Darkness, a terrible menace that originates in The Abyss. Throughout the kingdom there are rumors about a leviathan, a whale of extraordinary size and powers. Jonathan and Ella must find the thief, save the Kingdom of Babylon, and battle their own hearts’ true desires in the form of the alluring princess and heir to the throne, Nin-Urmiz, and the dashing rebel Hillel Ben-Shahar.

In a bold Young Adult Fantasy novel that uses motifs from Jewish, Babylonian, Sumerian and Akkadian mythology, and also creates a new and exciting alternate history, Hagar Yanai tells the story of Jonathan and Ella and their quest for freedom, sanity and self-identity.

Rights Sold to:

Israel, Keter; Poland, GW Foksal; Spain, Pamies


“Hagar Yanai gives us that rarity in fantasy: something perfectly new.  An imaginary cosmology that feels like it came to us straight from ancient Babylon, a book filled with humor, adventure, philosophy and two brave children. It's powerful, good stuff, and deserves a world-wide audience.” – Neil Gaiman

”A new Israeli book that can be compared with Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea and Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle series without blushing….I recommend THE WHALE OF BABYLON whole-heartedly…It’s one heck of a book. [T]he story isn’t an instrument to communicate a simplistic penny-ante philosophy, but something multi-leveled, rich and variable, flexible and unexpected.” – Gili Bar-Hillel, YNET

THE WHALE OF BABYLON is the book I’ve been waiting for all these years: a truly fine and truly Israeli fantasy novel. Yanai’s fantasy connects well not only to mythology but also to current fantasy fiction. The link she creates between magic and science would fit well with themes of prominent works in the genre in recent years. Not only that, but what’s most significant in Yanai’s novel is that despite its locale, this novel naturally finds a place on the shelf alongside titles by Philip Pullman, J K Rowling, Neil Gaiman and the rest of today’s outstanding fantasy authors.” – Didi Chanoch, Walla!

”In her novel THE WHALE OF BABYLON Hagar Yanai has created a new and impressive fantasy world.” – Eli Eshed, Ha’aretz