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, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is 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, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God’s justice. 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.
About Saladin Ahmed
Saladin Ahmed was born in Detroit and raised in a working-class, Arab American enclave in Dearborn, MI. His short stories have been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell awards, and have appeared in Year’s Best Fantasy and numerous other magazines, anthologies, and podcasts, as well as being translated into five foreign languages. He is represented by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON is his first novel. Saladin lives near Detroit with his wife and twin children.
In Dhamsawaat, chief city of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms, Doctor Adoulla Makhslood has devoted his life to hunting and destroying ghuls, constructs brewed from bones, sand and bugs and animated by the vile blood-magic of evil sorcerers. Now fat, old and weary, Adoulla endeavors to ignore the power struggle developing between the cruel, despotic, aloof Khalif and the elusive, magic-powered Robin Hood-style thief who calls himself the Falcon Prince. But when the family of his old flame-turned-brothel keeper Miri is slaughtered by ghuls, Adoulla sets aside his teacup, summons his young assistant, Raseed, a deadly but naive warrior dervish steeped in the religion of his sect, and by the will of God steels himself for another battle. Tracking the ghuls into the desert, Adoulla and Raseed come upon a young girl, Zamia, whose entire family have also been slaughtered by the ghuls. Zamia, a shapeshifter who can take the form of a huge golden lioness with silver claws, proves more than adept at killing ghuls, but her femininity and forwardness deeply trouble the pious and traditional Raseed. Equally disturbing to Adoulla is the sheer sorcerous power necessary to create such terrible ghuls, and indications that the Falcon Prince is somehow involved. Adoulla, while no fan of the vicious Khalif, refuses to endorse a disastrous civil war. As you might expect, the Arabian Nights theme dominates, and in language, style and approach, Ahmed carries it off with only minor slips into American vernacular. Equally impressive are characters who struggle not only against their opponents but against their own misgivings and desires, and accept that victory may be achieved only at great personal cost. – Kirkus Reviews
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood is “the last real ghul hunter in the city of Dhamsawaat.” He’s almost retired: he’s old, he’s fat, his joints creak, and all he wants is a good cup of cardamom tea from his friend Yehyeh’s teahouse.
But rebellion is roiling in Dhamsawaat as the corrupt ruler faces off against a charismatic crime lord. After an old flame’s family is attacked by demons, the venerable Doctor ends up taking one last job.
Makhslood, his uptight young dervish sidekick Raseed, and the young tribal shape-shifter they rescue make for an unlikely but effective demon-hunting team in this colorful debut novel (though really, no points for guessing Raseed would fall for Zamia the shape-shifting lion girl).
But the keenest pleasure in this book is spending time in the great and detailed city that Saladin Ahmed creates: visiting the roasted nut vendors on Gruel Lane (it was originally named for a king, but no one remembers him), making purchases at the alchemist’s shop, and being glad you’re not stuck in the cart jams that keep our heroes from rushing to the rescue as quickly as they’d like.
Throne of the Crescent Moon is a satisfying swashbuckler with solid characters and marvelous world-building — and Makhslood and Raseed are a nice contrast to the lily-whiteness of many fantasy novels.
UnBound: Battle of the Half-Angels
The Nephillim Chronicles – Book One by Ronnie Massey
Justin and Theo are just normal teenagers with their teenage problems, until the day they meet their biological fathers, Michael and Uriel, two of the few remaining archangels. They learn, they are nephillim, the half human offspring of angels, and they learn they are not the only ones. In the days of old, nephillim walked the earth. Now heaven’s misfits may be all that stands between mankind and the wrath of Lucifer and the Fallen. But how will a handful of teenagers react when they find out, not only are they not human, but they are the most powerful soldiers in heaven’s army? How will they deal with their newly found powers? And will they be able to stop Lucifer?
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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