A review by Rebecca Muir
Throne of the Crescent Moon is the debut novel for Saladin Ahmed. It is set in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms, also the scene for a number of short stories he has previously written.
This book is a refreshingly new take on the fantasy novel. Saladin Ahmed has drawn on his Arab heritage to create a world that feels like the Arabian Nights come to pungent life. He has made this world almost step off the page. The characters are colourful and wonderfully depicted.
The book follows the efforts of Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the last ghul hunter of Dhamsawaat, and his protégé Raseed bas Raseed, a young Dervish warrior. Adoulla is a sarcastic, rather rude old man who loves trading insults with his friends, drinking cardamom tea and reading poetry. He is also God’s chosen agent against evil, and he has a heart of gold. Raseed is a young, idealistic religious fanatic; a gifted fighter who thinks Adoulla is too profane and yet is happy to guard him with his life. They join forces with Zamia, a shape-shifting desert tribeswoman looking for revenge.
Something evil is stirring, darker than the city of Dhamsawaat has seen in a long time. Adoulla and Raseed must join with their friends and allies to discover the true nature of the evil, and work to defeat it before it is too late. They must be willing to sacrifice everything in this quest.
Along the way, they come into contact with the Falcon Prince, a shadowy revolutionary seeking to overthrow the corrupt ruler, the Khalif. Whose side is he really on, and what is his true agenda?
This is a wonderful book. There are a few graphic scenes of violence which might be off-putting to some. However, it is mostly a vivid, engaging, poignant and well written book. It is a good versus evil story with heroic undertakings, drama and a dash of romance. I really enjoyed this different take on the genre. I highly recommend it and I look forward to reading more Crescent Moon stories. There is obviously more of this story to be told.