Late last year, I joined Goodreads, a book community site that has several on-going giveaways at any one time. That is where I won Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed, who Darkcargo has been
stalking politely and professionally following for some time now. I received my ARC in the mail about a week ago. Throne of the Crescent Moon is due to be out, in hard back, February 2012, and is to be the first in a series.
This magical, nitty-gritty tale is set in the Kingdom of Abassen, primarily in the cit of Dhamsawaat. Adoulla Mahkslood is a professional ghul hunter and an overweight old man. He is assisted by the young, and overly pious, Raseed bas Raseed, of the forked sword. They start off with a simple quest to kill some ghuls in nearby marshlands, about a day’s ride away. There, they discover more than they expected – indicating deeper and darker magic is a-foot. Unexpectedly, the desert tribeswoman Zamia Banu Laith Badawi renders aid. She had been tracking the ghuls in order to avenge the dead of her tribe. She is full of pride and anger and loss and will not stop her hunt until she has killed the jackalman-beast monster that slayed her people.
And all that was just the first night of reading. You can see how I was sucked in to the story from the beginning.
As these unlikely heroes attempt to unravel the mystery to this evil and defeat it, they are assisted by long-time friends to Adoulla – husband and wife Dawoud and Litaz. One’s a mage and the other an alkhemist. All their efforts are integral in fending off this ghul-raising evil and saving the city of Dhamsawaat. Perhaps. And that is why I am glad there is another book in the wings. Last night when I finished Throne of the Crescent Moon, I truly wasn’t ready to say goodbye to these characters.
I really enjoyed this book, for a number of reasons. Characters, places, magics, and cultures new to me – not based on European mythologies. Also, each character was flawed in some way – which made them very real to me. And despite their imperfections, they were still fighting for the good. The bad guys are really bad – like no qualms about killing little kids or stabbing you in the back kind of bad. I appreciate this in a fantasy – it makes the struggle for good all the more important.
The play of light and dark makes for a whorling gem of a tale. The relaxing use of cardamom tea in between action scenes had me wishing for a hot cup myself. Saladin Ahmed sprinkles his prose with references to foreign places that make this story all the more tangible; camels trained to sniff out ink mushrooms and honey fried colocasia roots are just two such examples. All in all, Throne of the Crescent Moon is a most engaging book and I fully encourage you to check out his works.