When I reviewed Seven Princes by John Fultz back in 2011, I heavily criticized the sword and sorcery novel for lacking character, plot, and, well… substance. When I did that, I opened myself up to the criticism that a sword and sorcery novel lacks those things on purpose. They’re all about fun and adventure. I knew that was wrong, but didn’t have a way to prove it. I do now. Saladin Ahmed’s sword and sorcery novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon, is a superficial adventure novel at first glance. It also possesses tremendous heart and soul. Not soul in a Biblical sense, although there’s some of that too; I mean soul like Barry Gordy. Every note in Ahmed’s debut comes from an authentic place, a cultural awareness not unlike Motown in the 1960′s.
From a plot standpoint, Throne of the Crescent Moon is about a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the subversive Falcon Prince. In the midst of a brewing rebellion, a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. The 60-year old Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, is the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat and his young assistant Raseed bas Raseed, is a holy warrior whose swordsmanship is matched only by his devotion to God. When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, they find themselves in a race to save the life of the tyrannical Khalif. Read More »