It’s true: most of the time I run one ‘Take Five’ a week. Sometimes, however, I receive a response from an author that I simply can’t wait to share. Such is the case with these five facts from Saladin Ahmed, author of the excellent Middle Eastern influenced fantasy novel Throne of the Crescent Moon. So, I ask that you indulge me once again as I present to you this bonus Take Five:
From Saladin Ahmed, finalist for the Nebula and Campbell Awards, comes one of the year’s most anticipated fantasy debuts: Throne of the Crescent Moon, a fantasy adventure with all the magic of The Arabian Nights.
The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron- fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings.
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, “the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path.
Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla’s young assistant, is a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety. But even as Raseed’s sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.
Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near- mythical power of the lion-shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man’s title. She lives only to avenge her father’s death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father’s killer. Until she meets Raseed.
When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time-and struggle against their own misgivings-to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.
1) An incomplete list of some maybe-obvious things that got thrown in the blender as I wrote Throne of the Crescent Moon: Fritz Leiber, Robert Jordan,1001 Nights, The Thief of Baghdad, contemporary politics of the Middle East.
2) An incomplete list of maybe-not-obvious things that got thrown in the blender: Walt Whitman. 17th century British protosecularism. ‘Your Mom’ jokes. Naguib Mahfouz’s Midaq Alley. Sturm Brightblade.
3) In my mind’s eye, the main character of Throne of the Crescent Moon – the fat-but-fearsome old ghul hunter Doctor Adoulla Makhslood — looks like an older, browner version of Sallah from the Indiana Jones movies. With the facial hair of late-era Jerry Garcia.
4) From my prank calling days as a kid, through a stint as a two-time member of Detroit’s Naitonal Poetry Slam team, to my current-day clowning around for my twin toddlers, I love doing voices. When I’ve read from Throne at conventions, I’ve gotten as many compliments on my reading as on the work itself. So I was very worried about the choice of narrator for the audiobook of Throne. Fortunately, the good people at Brilliance Audio chose Phil Gigante, who’s deployed his astonishing range on titles like The Adjustment Bureau, and won two Audies for his narrating prowess. If you’re an audiobook lover, you’re in for a treat!
5) While the action of Throne centers around the great city of Dhamsawaat, Books II and III will range across the Crescent Moon Kingdoms and beyond. And readers will be able to follow along with Priscilla Spencer’s stunning map.