An epic saga of love and war, Shadow of the Swords tells the story of the Crusades—from the Muslim perspective.
Saladin, a Muslim sultan, finds himself pitted against King Richard the Lionheart as Islam and Christianity clash against each other, launching a conflict that still echoes today.
In the midst of a brutal and unforgiving war, Saladin finds forbidden love in the arms of Miriam, a beautiful Jewish girl with a tragic past. But when King Richard captures Miriam, the two most powerful men on Earth must face each other in a personal battle that will determine the future of the woman they both love—and of all civilization.
Richly imagined, deftly plotted, and highly entertaining, Shadow of the Swords is a remarkable story that will stay with readers long after the final page has been turned.
The bloodshed of the Third Crusade is vividly portrayed in Pasha s second novel (Mother of All Believers), an excellent swords and sandals saga that takes in the action from an early Islamic perspective. Richard the Lionheart leads the armies of the European Crusaders, while Saladin commands the Muslim forces in Palestine. Both men are cunning and ruthless, and both are victims of the wiles of a beautiful young Jewish woman s plotting one man as her lover, the other as an enemy. Miriam is the niece of Maimonides, Saladin s trusted physician, and she has the power and will to thwart one man s plans and save the kingdom of the other. This is a suspenseful, action-packed historical filled with intrigue, treachery, revenge, massive atrocity, and gory scenes of battlefield butchery. Best, however, is Pasha s clear depictions of Saladin s and Richard s astute political and military leadership styles as they rally their forces to fight yet another religious war neither would win.
Epic novel of the Third Crusade
Kamran Pasha's novel, Shadow of the Swords, was inspired in reaction to the horrific events of September 11, 2001. As an American Muslim, he not only felt devastated by the human tragedy, but he felt an additional burden of knowing that the culprits of those crimes claimed to be acting on behalf of his faith.
He knew the terrorists' beliefs were a perversion of Islam and recognized the attacks would fan the smoldering flames of conflict between Christians and Muslims.
As a lifelong student of history and religion, Pasha wanted to write a story examining the roots of the animosity between Christianity and Islam. He chose the time period of the Third Crusade led by the iconic figures of King Richard the Lionheart on the Christian side and Sultan Saladin on the Muslim side.
Pasha breaks the age-old Good vs. Evil dichotomy by utilizing multiple viewpoints demonstrating that everyone sees themselves as hero in their own life story. Even if they commit atrocities, they will justify their acts under the guise of heroism.
The historical figure of Saladin is revered by Muslims and respected by Christians for his uncommon acts of chivalry, some of which are depicted in this novel. Two examples: sending his own physician to treat King Richard, who was dying from an illness; offering his own horse as a replacement when King Richard's horse was killed on the battlefield.
Whereas, while King Richard the Lionheart has a legendary mystique about him, enhanced by tales of Robin Hood when he was away on Crusade, the historic figure is less sympathetic. To counterbalance this, Pasha created the character of Sir William Chinon to depict the chivalric ideal to carry the standard for the Christians.
Pasha was not content with just showing the epic scope of the battles led by Saladin and King Richard the Lionheart, he also examines the perspective of Jews in the Levant at the time and their relationship with Muslims and Christians. The historical figure of Maimonides, a rabbi and physician to Saladin, is featured prominently as well as the character of Miriam, an educated and high-spirited Jewish woman. Miriam serves the dramatic function of interacting with both Saladin and King Richard and allows the readers to see them as human beings and not icons of legend.
It is the intersection of the three great faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam that gives the novel its strength and heart. To understand where we are going, it is important to know where we came from. There is a lot of commonality in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religious traditions, hopefully Shadow of the Swords will help readers focus on those unifying areas more than the differences which divides us.