Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Desert of Souls

A fine book, this; Arabic-flavoured swords and sorcery but also a look back to the days when fantasy was expletive-free and concentrated on virtues such as honour, duty and loyalty to friends.

Set in Baghdad at the end of the eighth century, during the rule of Harun al Rashid, the heroes are Asim and Dabir, captain of the guard and scholar respectively. Stumbling across a legendary treasure, they are soon embroiled in a quest that becomes progressively more dangerous, going from scrape to scrape; people are killed on a regular basis but Jones does not linger over the gory details.

The pace of the book is steady and full of event, which means that it reaches the point by the halfway mark that other books might see as the end; Jones, however, manages to pack a lot of action into the second half of the book; there’s no anticlimactic wind-down to disappoint the reader.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and agree with the reviewer’s quote which described it as a cross between Sinbad and Indiana Jones. If you like either of those, or even if you think that Swords and Sorcery is not the genre for you, give this one a try.

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