The glittering tradition of sword-and-sorcery sweeps into the sands of ancient Arabia with the heart-stopping speed of a whirling dervish in this thrilling debut novel from new talent Howard Andrew Jones
In 8th century Baghdad, a stranger pleads with the vizier to safeguard the bejeweled tablet he carries, but he is murdered before he can explain. Charged with solving the puzzle, the scholar Dabir soon realizes that the tablet may unlock secrets hidden within the lost city of Ubar, the Atlantis of the sands. When the tablet is stolen from his care, Dabir and Captain Asim are sent after it, and into a life and death chase through the ancient Middle East.
Stopping the thieves—a cunning Greek spy and a fire wizard of the Magi—requires a desperate journey into the desert, but first Dabir and Asim must find the lost ruins of Ubar and contend with a mythic, sorcerous being that has traded wisdom for the souls of men since the dawn of time. But against all these hazards there is one more that may be too great even for Dabir to overcome...
Advance Praise for THE DESERT OF SOULS:
"The Desert of Souls is filled with adventure, magic, compelling characters and twists that are twisty. This is seriously cool stuff." -- Steven Brust, New York Times bestselling author of the Vlad Taltos series
"A grand and wonderful adventure filled with exotic magic and colorful places — like a cross between Sinbad and Indiana Jones." -- Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Map of All Things
"Like the genie of the lamp, Howard Jones has granted this reader's wish for a fresh, exciting take on the venerable genre of sword-and-sorcery!" -- Richard A. Knaak, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Legends of the Dragonrealm
"Howard Andrew Jones spins an exciting and suspenseful tale in his historical fantasy debut. A rich, detailed tapestry -- part Arthur Conan Doyle, part Robert E. Howard, and part Omar Khayyam, woven in the magical thread of One Thousand And One Nights." -- E.E. Knight, Author of the bestselling Vampire Earth
"An entertaining and enjoyable journey into a world of djinns and magic far darker than expected, yet one that ends with hope, both for the characters... and that there will be yet another book." -- L. E. Modesitt, Jr, author of the Recluse Saga, the Imager Portfolio, and the Corean Chronicles
"A modern iteration of old school storytelling. Highly recommended to anyone in search of a fun run through strange lands and times." -- Glen Cook, author of The Black Company Series
"Howard Jones wields magic like a subtle blade and action like a mighty cleaver in his scimitars and sorcery tale, weaving together Arabian myth, history, and some honest-to-gosh surprises to create a unique story that you'll not soon forget." -- Monte Cook, author of The Dungeon Masters Guide, 3rd Edition
"A rousing tale of swords against sorcery. Howard Jones writes with wit and flair. His world is involving, authentic and skilfully evoked. The best fantasy novel I have read all year." -- William King, Author of the Space Wolf trilogy and creator of Gotrek and Felix
"A whirlwind tale of deserts, djinn and doors to other worlds, told in a voice perfectly pitched for the style and setting." -- Nathan Long, author of Bloodborn and Shamanslayer
"An Arabian Nights adventure as written by Robert E Howard. It is exciting, inventive, and most of all fun." -- Dave Drake, author of The Legion of Fire
As richly textured as an antique rug, this fantasy-mystery sweeps readers into ancient Baghdad. Asim, captain of Master Jaffar's guard, and the wily scholar Dabir, who is hopelessly in love with Jaffar's niece Sabirah, track stolen golden artifacts into the shifting sands that hide the ruins of legendary Ubar, entry to the land of the djinn. Asim's dazzling swordplay, his Muslim piety, and his unwavering loyalty to his friend balance Dabir's bittersweet devotion to Sabirah as the pair battle forbidden magic that forces them to slice away layers of their own spirits. Their antagonist, evil Zarathustrian sorcerer Firouz, poses moral questions that deepen this multicolored Arabian-nights tale, as does the plight of pretty, quick-witted Sabirah, who prizes scholarship and lives for the moment while facing the fate of a political marriage. A captivating setting and well-realized characters make this a splendid flying-carpet ride.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Thrilling Fantasy Adventure
The Desert of Souls is one part historical, one part fantasy, and two parts action adventure. The main characters, Asim and Dabir, are reminiscent of Fafrhd and Grey Mouser or Sherlock and Watson without being copies of either pair. They are distinctive and well-rounded. The Desert of Souls is, to some degree, an adventurous buddy tale in 8th Century Baghdad. With sorcery. What's not to like about that?
Howard Andrew Jones made good use of pulp storytelling techniques rarely seen today, employing them in a sophisticated, modern manner. The Desert of Souls is an eloquently written, fast-paced tale that, at its best, reminded me of The Adept's Gambit by Fritz Leiber. I enjoyed the supporting cast and the lush historical setting, as well as fantasy elements that don't often get the screen time they deserve. Mythic djinn and the above mentioned zombie monkeys are just a few of the many fun, pulp-fantasy elements the author throws in for our reading pleasure.
The Desert of Souls is sword-and-sorcery at its best, and a fun read that any fantasy fan will enjoy.