Friday, 26 April 2013

FANTASY REVIEW: The Chronicles of Swords and Sand: The Desert of Souls - Howard Andrew Jones

Release Date: 01/04/13
Publisher:  Head of Zeus


THE CHRONICLE OF SWORD & SAND: Baghdad, AD 790. Caliph Harun al-Rashid presides over the greatest metropolis on Earth, ruler of an empire stretches from China to Byzantium. His exploits will be recorded in Alf Layla or, as we know it, The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. But The Thousand and One Nights are silent on the deeds and adventures that befell two of the Caliph's subjects: the renowned scholar Dabir ibn Kahlil, and his shield and right hand, Asim el Abbas. For their story, we must turn to the Chronicle of Sand and Sword...THE DESERT OF SOULS: Amid the trackless sands of ancient Arabia, two companions - a swordsman and a scholar - search for the ruins of the lost city of Ubar. Before their quest is over, they will battle necromancers and animated corpses, they will confront a creature that has traded wisdom for the souls of men since the dawn of time and they will fight to save a city's soul.


Bringing the best of two genres together seems to be a common trait these days, yet finding the right mix so that its not too much of one or the other is not only a tricky task to manage but a fine line to tread in order to appeal to fans of both. Howard’s choice to bring the Arabian myths alongside a native Holmes and Watson (Dabir and Asim) really works well.

They’re interesting with facets that really work well to bring it all together. They’re quirky, their psychological aspects work well to bolster each other and all round, the dialogue for me is the thing that really sells it to me as a reader. Add to the mix a young nieces rebellion, a quest to procure a stolen item and all round its something that doesn’t let up from start to finish. Great all round.

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