From Ahmed’s blog:


The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is 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.

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat, just wants a quiet cup of tea. A fat old man who has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, he’s more than ready to retire from his dangerous vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path.

Adoulla’s young assistant Raseed, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God’s justice. 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 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.

I written before about Jason Chan and his artwork. I appreciate how he’s able to straddle that thin line between fun/serious without falling into looking like a cheap comic book. I like this, though Doctor Adoulla Makhslood (who I’ve enjoyed since first discovering Ahmed’s short fiction), doesn’t look nearly as down-in-the-gutter ragged and imposing as I always pictured him. It’s fun and reminds me of old Sword & Sorcery novels from Lieber, Howard and their ilk (which, from what I can tell, is accurate of the novel, too). It’s also nice to see DAW embracing the Middle Eastern roots, rather than painting it with a more ambiguous image (as we’ve too often seen).

  • James June 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I like the synopsis, but the cover does not appeal to me in the slightest.

  • brandonS. June 4, 2011 at 3:45 am

    wow. And to quote aidan, “oh my”.

    Im sorry, I just have to do a double take. WOW, that is the cheesiest, corniest, most goofball *insert curse word* D&D ripoff cover I have ever seen. This is something you’d normally see at the YA shelf. I. just. can’t. get. past. how. CARTOONY this looks! Surely howard & lieber’s covers have never looked as silly as this. Now I know how aidan felt when he saw the covers for TOME and BLACK HALO. So bad its almost a masterpiece because of the fact. And sadly enough, this is from the same guy who did video game work for DEAD SPACE 2, BIOSHOCK 2, and DRAGON AGE ORGINS. And he turns around and does this?

  • Sarah June 5, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Mr Moher if I was you I would not review cover art anymore {sound effect of a comedy clanger falling}

  • The Fantasizer June 5, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I’ll be reading Saladin’s first book assuredly, great cover! I likeeee.

  • Yano June 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    this cover is messed up man. but then again, the blurb sounds as cheesy and unoriginal as the cover looks.

  • brandonS. June 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Sarah: please clarify.

    Yano: kinda have to agree with you threre. Let’s face it, because it has a middle eastern setting dosen’t mean it gets a free pass for being ‘original’ because its not. And the sad thing about it is: there’s part of me wishing that it was a middle eastern fantasy written in the same tone and style as George rr martin or joe abercrombie or even somebody like brent weeks. Looks like that book won’t be coming for a while. So basically its going to be another case with THE UNREMEMBERED or SONGS OF THE EARTH. Sure it has good ideas but it just doesn’t have a SINGLE orginal bone in its body.

    Oh, and that cover (yeah, uh…straight face. using that word loosely now). I know that jason chan also does covers (that one for PRINCE OF THORNS was awesome!). but this. Man, and I thought the WOT covers were lazy. Did jason chan all of a sudden just FORGOT what a good fantasy cover actually LOOKS like?

  • aidan June 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    @Brandon S — I don’t mind if you criticize the cover or the synopsis, but let’s keep criticisms of the novel itself to a minimum until we’ve read it. Until then, why not read some of Ahmed’s short fiction set in the same world and discuss its originality and quality?

  • Banotti June 6, 2011 at 7:53 am

    @Aidan What a great answer!
    I like the art immensely, makes me smile… I am reading THE DESERT OF SOULS, it kinda reminds me of this – cool to have another Middle Eastern setting.
    @BrandonS I hope this does not stand for Brandon Sanderson…

  • Scott June 6, 2011 at 10:50 am

    @ BrandonS….It’s art that it looks like a lot of time went into sir. Sure, it’s a cartoonish style…but how that makes it “bad” or “lazy” in your books is beyond me.

    I like it, and moreover, the guy who spent hours sketching and painting it likely wouldn’t be too pleased to hear his stuff passed off as “lazy” which it isn’t….Just because it didn’t appeal to you, you haven’t any right to dismiss it outright as lazy or anything else…since you weren’t there to watch them paint it.

    and since you are being nitpicky, how be I correct your grammar buddy:

    “Did jason chan all of a sudden just FORGOT what a good fantasy cover actually LOOKS like?”

    That bolded word…yeah that should be FORGET…not FORGOT dude.

    Enjoy the internet, but cut the bullsh**.

  • brandonS. June 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    @Scott: sorry for my spellings. Its me writing off the top of my brain that stuff like that happens. I’ll work on correcting myself next time. But i’ll stick to my bullsh**, thank you, as it’s my own opinion and i’m sticking by it. And i don’t need to watch somebody draw their stuff to know that they can be lazy or just haven’t put a lot of effort into it (and I’ve seen crappy covers before). But I still like jason chan and I look forward to what else he might do. I just don’t think it’s one of his finest covers. But even then I sill respect the opinion of someone who likes it. So if It’s not me, than try to respect the opinion of someone who sees the cover and reacts how I did, kay. Not that the art is lazy but the fact that it looks like a cartoon and there wasn’t a feeling of real badassness that fails on that level. Plus, the internets have been quite plesant, thank you.

    @aidan, I did read at least one of those stories set in that world. He definitly has talent and his writing skills are great. The story I read was very much had an S&S vibe which I liked. I’m just worried that with his series being more heroic fantasy, he might run into a wall of tropes and not do anything to subvert them (sanderson, i’m looking at you). It might end up being your standerd D&D adventure in an arabian nights enviroment (which even that was already done before). I will give him credit in that he does something that most S&S authors don’t do: write about a S&S hero who’s at the end of his career but get’s drawn back into action. So…I don’t know, we’ll see how it turns out. Oh, and would you explain sarah’s comment cause it didn’t quite make sense.

    Wow, this was a longer response than what I had planned, but I guess I’ll get this out of the way…

    @banotti: no, i’m not brandon sanderson nor are we related. my last name is a lot shorter AND that passing mention should have gave you a hint:)

  • Yano June 7, 2011 at 2:32 am

    way to go brandon!

  • Sarah June 7, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Woohooo Brandon. you should be a critic ……….
    What didnt you understand about my comment.Aidan has terrible cover sense.= comedy clangor. Hope you got that.It was difficult I realise.Note to brain” write in crayon next time for Brandon”

  • aidan June 7, 2011 at 6:18 am

    @Brandon — Just be careful about asking the series to be something it’s not. I think some of the concerns you’ve mentioned aren’t so much potential flaws in the novel but rather just reflections of personal taste (a concept Sarah doesn’t seem to grasp.)

    @Sarah — I don’t mind if you erroneously judge my taste in books (I mean, you can’t account for taste, afterall), but please don’t patronize my other readers.

  • brandonS. June 7, 2011 at 6:22 am

    @yano : really just speaking my mind, but do take a good look at other comments on posts that have featured this cover and you’ll see that neither me or you guys are alone on this.

    @sarah: really, it should be my fault for not getting it the first time. Sorry about the misunderstanding. Sure you might think that he has ‘terrible cover sense’, but that’s just him. He likes it and dosen’t mind that we don’t like it so I don’t mind either. So no need for crayons (that would be hard to do with with a keyboard and computer, really) and I’ll make sure to read and interpret things more fully.

    Oh, and about Aidan’s ‘cover sense’ again…eh, can’t really do anything about that, having said what I needed to say, so how about you talk to Aidan about it?

  • Yano June 7, 2011 at 6:44 am

    every cover serves a purpose. and now i think this novel will be (well written) s&s classic fantasy. so the cover fits that purpose. it would not do however for a rothfuss cover for example. but that’s obvious, i know.

  • brandonS. June 7, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Darn, that last comment came a bit late, didn’t it?

    @aidan- really, i’m trying not to be too harsh to where I judge it based on cover and blurb alone (hey! just like how fanboys like to whine and thrash about on a movie adaptation without having seen a SINGLE frame?). At the very least, I hope that the novel dosen’t go that D&D route and that he at least tries to be creative and unexpected like martin, lynch, and abercrombie were. Or if it does have some standerd elements, that he really takes them and does something innovative with it. But my most important hope of all is that he makes it a blast to read (something I know he is capable of). Most books of his ilk sacrifice the credibilty of the charactors, world and everything else just to make a big political statement *COUGHthegaslightdogsCOUGH*. Which hopefully he won’t. Too much to ask? Sure, but that’s just me hoping for the best.

    Oh yeah, there is a book out called DESERT OF SOULS by Howard Andrew Jones. Great read if you want to see an arabian nights-inspired S&S done right. And the patronizing thing…again, I was just speaking my mind.

  • brandonS. June 7, 2011 at 6:57 am

    And one more thing before I forget. Again I like saladin and even though it’s coming out next year (pretty much making it a wait-and-see), I look forward to what he has in store.

    Redundant, I know. But I thought I’d make that clear.

  • aidan June 7, 2011 at 6:58 am

    @Brandon — Yeah, The Desert of Souls has been on my radar for a little while, now. Also, that ‘patronizing’ comment wasn’t directed at you, so no worries!


  • Sarah June 8, 2011 at 4:14 am

    Sorry to all of Aidans vast amount of readers. I bow down to Aidan and his followers( readers) By the way Aidan I remember a while back you trying to get a novel published ?Hows that going lol ;o). I REST MY CASE

  • Tom Lloyd June 8, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Anyone else think that the editor wanted Raymond Swanland to do the cover art and ended up briefing someone whose style is completely not suited to the concept? I think it’s well executed for what Jason Chan was asked to do, but I really don’t want that on the front of a book I’m reading.

    As an aside – the blurb’s really long and complicated, reminds me of The Unremembered blurb in that it goes on far too much and ends up leaving me cold – as though whoever wrote it wasn’t really sure how they wanted to sell it or the strengths of the book so they decided to chukc everything. Me, I want something to intrigue me from a blurb rather than a mini synopsis.