Saladin Ahmed has been on the writing scene for a little while, publishing stories in the likes of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show and StarshipSofa, as well as receiving praise from the likes of Publisher’s Weekly and Locus. And now he arrives with his first novel, the surprisingly slim, but action- and detailed-packed Throne of the Crescent Moon, the first in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms series.
Welcome to a world and a land that you might think at first is familiar, but you will soon find is unique and complex and compelling and exciting. This is the world of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms, where the djenn and ghuls are at play with people’s lives, while the holy warriors and Khalifs vie for control and power and domination. It is a busy world with many different and unusual people, but Saladin Ahmed skillfully introduces the readers to the necessary few one needs to know.
Our main character and hero, albeit elderly and worn, is one Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, who enjoys his quiet time and his tea in his middle age. His story and history is that of one of the greatest ghul hunters the great city of Dhamsawaat has known, but he is now being called back for one last time to use his power and magic for good, after the family of a good friend is murdered, and ghuls appear to be involved. Fortunately, he has the help of young Raseed bas Raseed, his assistant and holy warrior who is extremely skilled with the curved, notched sword, so long as he is delivering God’s justice. And then there is Zami Badawi, a young girl who is now the leader of her people, but also the last of her people and is looking to avenge them.
Ahmed hasn’t only created a complex world with compelling characters, but a magic system that is fresh and captivating. When Adoulla casts his magic, using passages from the holy writ imbued with his powers, the ghuls are obliterated, but the magic comes at a cost, as he finds himself weakened after the casting each spell. Then there is the fascinating Zami who has the incredible ability to turn into a terrifying lion. The three together present a formidable army.
Throne of the Crescent Moons is a delightful fresh fantasy story, featuring a new host of gods and magic that don’t fall under the common western paradigm, set in a fun world that will have readers quickly tearing through the 270-page book and anxious for more.
Originally written on March 14, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.
To purchase a copy of Throne of the Crescent Moon from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.