Nura and the Immortal Palace

Nura and the Immortal Palace

By Author / Illustrator

MT Khan


Magical Realism

Age range(s)



Walker Books Ltd




Paperback / softback




A magical adventure rooted in Muslim culture and tradition, Nura and the Immortal Palace follows a young girl's journey from modern-day Pakistan into the world of the jinn.

Nura has worked all her life in the mica mines, earning just enough to keep her family afloat - and enjoy the odd delicious gulab jamun from the market. Some day she's going to find the Demon's Tongue, a legendary treasure buried deep in the mines, and her family will never have to worry about money again.   But when a terrible accident buries her best friend below ground, Nura goes in search of him and passes over into the magical and terrible world of the jinn. Across a pink sea and under a purple sky, she finds her way to a palace, where great riches and a whole new life are on offer.   But it's not long before Nura discovers this world to be as unfair as the real one, and that trickster jinns will always live up to their reputation...

Q&A and Video with author MT Khan



The most gloriously, richly illustrated cover of this book opens and takes the reader into a darkly intriguing and imaginative fantasy adventure that blends perfectly with a very real, central theme of child labour and the culture of exploitation of the poor by the wealthy.

Set in India, the story opens up Muslim cultures, traditions and folklore stories in a captivating story where our 12-year-old main character, Nura, spends her days with other poverty-stricken children, mining for mica in the depths of dangerous, unstable mines. This precious mineral is needed for manufacture of all things glossy such as cosmetics; items that Nura can only dream of as she earns precious rupees to support her mother and three siblings. She also dreams, as she digs through the dirt, of discovering the legendary treasure, the Demon's Tongue, and escaping the poverty, hunger and weariness of the life she has lead up to now.  Nura is devoted to her family and adores her mother's tales and warnings of 'the jinn' - invisible spirits around us, full of wicked tricks and malevolent mischief to put humans through with great delight. For the community Nura lives in, the jinn are more than childhood stories; they are sinister creatures to be avoided and never, ever trusted.

When Nura digs too deep, or too carelessly, in the mica mines one day, the tunnels collapse and the children are horrifyingly trapped under mounds of dirt and stone. Nura's best friend, Faisal, is among them. Nura will not rest until she finds him but her search leads her through the tunnels and through the entry to another world altogether with a dazzling pink sea and violet sky. A world inhabited by jinn; creatures with fangs, horns, jagged nails and the ability to conjure up fireballs in their hands. Trapped in the grim workers' quarters of the luxury jinn hotel, Nura must face up to these twisted-hearted demons and her own inner demons to save herself and the many other stolen children she finds.

This is a stunning, colourful story, vividly created for the reader. The world of the jinn feels frantic, frenzied and dangerous to be part of. There are grotesque characters with uncontrollable emotions and no morals who keep children - human and jinn alike - to do all their bidding. Nura is a fabulous heroine; a determined young girl who undergoes her own transformation as she realizes the true priorities in life are not what you have but who you have in your life.

This is magical fantasy with a heart bursting with fury at injustice and with a unrelenting mission to restore hope and champion a better moral code to those who enter the story.

272 pages / Reviewed by Jennifer, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Nura wants what she can't have: money, wealth and power. Her days are long and difficult, mining for mica; it's a dirty and dangerous job but she does it to help her mum, to bring some extra money into the family, to help give her younger siblings a little extra. But what she really wants is to find The Demon's Tongue. Some say it's a myth, but for Nura and the other child miners, it's the ultimate goal: if they find it, they will want for nothing for the rest of their lives. But Nura takes too many risks and when her digging causes a mine to collapse and her best friend to get trapped, Nura takes it upon herself to save him.

Little does she know that her efforts will lead her to another world, the realm of the jinn. Here she is met with wealth and splendour beyond her wildest dreams. But all that glitters is not gold and Nura learns that wealth and happiness do not necessarily come from the things she thought. When faced with a bleak reality, she realises too late what is important to her.

Author MT Khan takes us on a magical journey through the contrasting worlds of a mica miner to the bountiful world of the jinn palace. Her main character clearly wants what she can't have and her journey to claim it is fraught with problems for her to overcome, until ultimately, she discovers that what she needs is not what she thought that she wanted.

Incredibly rich writing packed full of sensuous descriptions brings this fantastical world to life. Curriculum Links: poverty and wealth, family, desire, greed, education, love, compassion, teamwork, determination and perseverance.

272 pages / Reviewed by Donna, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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