Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Throne of the Crescent Moonby Saladin Ahmed

Book review by Dan Tres OMi

This is yet another book I stumbled upon. The cover was immediately appealing. After reading the first two pages, I fell in love with the story. Saladin Ahmed introduces us to the ancient city of Dhamsawaat. A city ruled by a corrupt Khalif and besieged by The Falcon Prince, the precursor to Robin Hood, who is loved by the poor but hated by the rich and royalty. It is in this atmosphere we meet Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the last of the real ghul hunters, and his young assistant the Dervish Raseed bas Raseed. Makhslood spends his time fighting off ghuls and defending people who have no other place to go. Raseed is a Dervish who has committed himself to fighting The Traitorous Angel (Shataan) with his very life.

I think the best part about this story are the two main characters. On one hand we have Makhslood who is an elder gentleman who has fought ghuls most of his life. He is looking to get out of the ghul hunting business since he is getting old and tired. He would rather spend his days reading books and sipping tea. Makhslood is a practicing Muslim but is very lax in his rituals. He openly flirts with women, enjoys fighting, and is known to celebrate just a little too much. He is like that loving uncle we all have and love to be around despite the fact that our parents would rather he not show up most of the time. Raseed on the other hand is extremely pious, young, and naive. His worldview is in complete conflict with his mentor. Their interaction is wonderful to watch. When it comes to fighting ghuls, their partnership is as one.

Ahmed throws many elements and characters into the story that forces Makhslood and Raseed to question their arrangement. In the end, they stay true to one another and win the day. Ahmed does a great job providing a full tapestry of the religion of Islam. You have your everyday practitioners, your mystics, and fundamentalists all wrapped up in a story of adventure. One need not know the history of Islam to appreciate this. One can't help but to fall in love with the characters as well as the city of Dhamsawaat. I look forward to hearing more tales about Makhslood and Raseed and the fate of the city of Dhamsawaat. Ahmed has introduced the reader to a great and wonderful world from our distant past.

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