Posts Tagged: Sword & Sorcery

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Publisher: Gollancz - Pages: 304 - Buy: Book/eBook

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 »

Barbarian, art by Seaver Liu

Barbarian, art by Seaver Liu

Saladin Ahmed, one of the most exciting young writer in Fantasy, is giving away a short story, ‘Iron Eyes and the Watered-Down World’, today. Exciting news, yeah? Yeah, it is. I always jump on a chance to read any of his short fiction, and have raved about it once or twice in the past. He’s good. But, there’s a caveat here, and that comes to the reason he’s releasing the story. But first, the fun part.
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THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON by Saladin AhmedIn a recent discussion on Goodreads, Saladin Ahmed, author of Throne of the Crescent Moon, gave a handful of juicy details about his upcoming projects, the two follow-up novels to his successful debut.

Ahmed is currently in the midst of writing the second volume of the trilogy, which has no title yet, and expects it to be ready for a mid-2013 release. He promises that the djenn, who are only briefly mentioned in Throne of the Crescent Moon, will play a more integral role in the second novel and also says that readers haven’t seen the last between the hilarious and painfully accurate teenage romance that started to blossom between Zamia and Raseed bas Raseed in the latter half of Throne of the Crescent Moon.

Most interesting, though, are his comments on the scope of the second and third volumes. He says:

The later books will explore a fair amount of the map included with THRONE. Specifically, Rughal-ba and the off-map ‘Warlands’ will become hugely important. [They] will move toward epic fantasy in scale and scope, even as they maintain a sword-and-sorcery flavor. The main conflict of Book III will be a classic epic fantasy ‘clash of the big ol’ armies’ which is also a kind of Crusades analogue.

Ahmed’s debut was praised for its throwback nature, embracing classic Sword & Socrcery stylings of Howard, Leiber and Moorcock, and the pacing and plot structure that generally goes alongside that type of storytelling. It will be interesting to see how Ahmed maintains that ‘sword-and-sorcery flavor’ while expanding the scope of the story to fall more in line with traditional Epic Fantasies. I’ll be curious to see how this affects the word count of the novels.

Fans of Ahmed’s short fiction will also be pleased to know that more characters from his old stories will appear in the future novels. Specifically we’ll see Layla bas Layla, a female dervish who first appeared (and went renegade) in “Judgement of Swords and Souls.” Ahmed concludes by dropping tantalizing hints of everyone’s favourite semi-fictional badasses, ninjas.

You can read my review of Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed.


Terrifying barbarians, cunning mages, and daring heroes run rampant through these exceptional examples of the exciting sword and sorcery genre. In “Tower of the Elephant,” Conan takes up jewel thievery but proves to be far better with his sword. “The Flamer Bringers” finds antihero Elric infiltrating a band of bloodthirsty mercenaries and outwitting a powerful sorcerer. “Become a Warrior” is the unexpected tale of a child who loses all she holds dear, only to gain unforeseen power and unlikely revenge. Further entries come from early legends such as Jack Vance and Catherine Louise Moore, the next wave of talents including Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock, and modern trendsetters like George R.R. Martin, Karl Edward Wagner, and David Drake. This essential, fast-paced anthology is a chronological gathering of influential, inventive, and entertaining fantasy—sure to appeal to action-oriented fans.

A perfectly schlocky cover.

And look at that lineup. Mighty, mighty fine. The anthology seems to be a re-print anthology hoping to chronicle the progression of the Sword & Sorcery sub-genre, something that fans introduced to Fantasy by the likes of Game of Thrones might be particularly interested in if they’re curious about the roots of the genre. Which stories by the listed authors would you like to see included in the anthology?

The Sword & Sorcery Anthology will find store shelve in June, 2012, published by Tachyon Publications.