Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed a new arabesque fantasy of high adventure and grand magic a review.
This past month I have been really getting back into Arabian Nights style modern fantasy as a change from all the Medieval European fantasy that is out there; and also to have a break from beloved far eastern Wuxia inspired fantasy. If you read any of my older posts you would see I share the same amount of love for Arabian/Persian Mythology, Folklore and fantasy as I do for For Eastern fantasy. “My second favorite fantasy epic is the Arabian Nights, which I tend to read at least once a year. I also have a great love for doing research on Arabian folklore and mythology and my shelves are adorned with several books on the subject. In the mean time, I am always on the look out for new writers who are creating the same feel and tone that the original Arabian nights has, which is that desert Arabesque fantasy fiction set in the Islamic Golden Age that is filled with Djinn, Magi, magic carpets, Dervish and other elements that makes the Nights so magical.
Well in my search for modern fantasy writers who write Arabesque fantasy fiction I had stumbled upon Saladin Ahmed and his premier novel The Throne of the Crescent Moon which is set to be a trilogy, Here is a synopsis of the book.
From Saladin Ahmed, finalist for the Nebula and Campbell Awards, comes one of the year’s most anticipated fantasy debuts: THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON, a fantasy adventure with all the magic of “The Arabian Nights.”
The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron- fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings.
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, “the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path.
Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla’s young assistant, is a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety. But even as Raseed’s sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.
Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near- mythical power of the lion-shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man’s title. She lives only to avenge her father’s death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father’s killer. Until she meets Raseed.
When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time-and struggle against their own misgivings-to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.
I really enjoyed the Throne of the Crescent Moon. It is filled with high adventure and fantastic magic perfect for any lover of fantasy fiction. You almost feel like you are reading a version of Ray Harryhausen’s 1958 film the 7th voyage of Sinbad. What is also really fascinating are the characters in this novel. They stray away from western fantasy stereotypes that are so common in fantasy fiction and introduce us to a new and unique culture that we as westerners are totally unfamiliar with. I can’t wait for the sequels to Throne of the Crescent Moon to come out as I have really grown attached to the protagonists. I have even created a Role Playing Character based on the dervish Raseed bas Raseed for Pathfinder adventure campaigns that are based in the desert.
What I also feel, is that Saladin Ahmed novel hails as a direct descendent of the original Arabian Nights series of tales, and it shows. Saladin spent a lot of time researching the Arabian Nights and Islamic mythology to get the correct feel for his trilogy. Because of this he doesn’t disappoint as his story feels like it was ripped right from the pages of the Arabian Nights themselves. What is also interesting is how much research and information Saladin has gathered for writing this grand epic. I follow a few of his feeds like Twitter and Tumbler and he is always posting new and obscure facts and information about the Arabian Nights from time to time. It would be really interesting to see if he will ever create a non-fiction prose about the Arabian nights with all the information and research he has obtained in order to write this trilogy.
You will also find that Saladin Ahmed’s writing style is definitely award winning in its own right. The Throne of the Crescent Moon has already been nominated for both a Hugo award for best novel 2013 as well as a nomination for a Nebula award for best new novel 2012 and won the Locus award for best new novel 2013. Saladin was also a finalist for the John W Campbell award 2010 and the nebula award for best short story 2009. This is definitely an author to watch out for in the near future. Saladin Ahmed is hoping to finish writing the sequels, and they should be in print by 2015.
So if you are looking for a modern Arabesque Fantasy novel that feels and reads very much like the Arabian Nights or are looking for something different to line your fantasy bookshelf go out and pick up a copy of The Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed trust me you won’t be disappointed.
And if you are interested in looking for other non-western/medieval fantasy, Saladin Ahmed has a really great list on his Pinterest account (link is highlighted)
Here is also Saladin’s great webpage and blog where you can get updates on his work.
I also highly recommend his twitter and tumbler accounts as they are very insightful, informative and sometimes downright fun to read (trust me his knowledge which also encompasses the golden age comics and pulp fiction are also unparallelled I am always learning new tidbits from him).
I’m Eric from The Strangers Bookshelf wishing you a Happy Quest.