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The Desert of Souls Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 15, 2011
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More About the Author
Howard was the driving force behind the rebirth of interest in Harold Lamb's historical fiction, and assembled and edited 8 collections of Lamb's work for the University of Nebraska Press. He served as Managing Editor of Black Gate magazine from 2004 onward, and still blogs regularly at the magazine web site.
When not helping run his small family farm or spending time with his wife and children, he can be found hunched over his laptop or notebook, mumbling about flashing swords and doom-haunted towers. He's worked variously as a TV cameraman, a book editor, a recycling consultant, and most recently, as a writing instructor at a mid-western college.
Top Customer Reviews
The Desert of Souls is a welcome correction to this. It's the first modern fantasy book I've read for a long time that I've really enjoyed. I read it over three days, and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. The prose is economical but lyrical, the characters engaging, the story fast-paced. There are heros, beautiful women, sorcerers, djinn, flashing swords, love, despair, horror . . . all the things that made the Sinbad movies so great.
If you like adventure fantasy, then buy this book. I really enjoyed it. The only disappointment was that this is Jones' first, and I can't go and buy another one from him yet.
Asim, captain of Jafar's guard, was fond of Jafar's parrot, a talented bird who "could mimic the master and his chief eunuch, and even sometimes answered the call to prayer by bowing thrice. He did this only when it pleased him to do so, which, as my nephew Mahmoud once noted, was far too much like many men he knew."
But Pago the parrot turns up dead one day, and so Asim, in an effort to distract Jafar from his grief, suggests an outing into the market.
Thus it is that Asim, his master Jafar, and Dabir, the scholar engaged as tutor to Jafar's intellectually precocious niece, Sabirah, set out for a little harmless fun in the noisy, perilous environs of eighth-century Baghdad. There they encounter a fortune teller, a band of thieves, and, of course, that moment of destiny when life takes a decidedly strange and treacherous turn.
The Desert of Souls is an elegantly written, deftly plotted, scimitar-and-sorcery tale, as colorful and romantic as a Persian carpet, woven with bright, daring exploits, frequent glints of humor, and the darker threads of heartbreak, pathos, and knotty moral quandries. It is a buddy story dressed in turbans and wearing daggers, exploring a burgeoning but sorely tested friendship between the narrator, Asim, a pious, loyal warrior with an unexpected flair for story-telling, and Dabir, the clever problem-solver who cannot resist a puzzle--or the flashing eyes and fine mind of a certain young woman.Read more ›
Soldier Asim el Abbas and scholar Dabir ibn Khalil make an unlikely buddy match-up in this thrilling novel set in an 8th century Middle East filled to the brim with legend, buried cities, blades, and wizardry leavened with just the right touch of romance. The book has an amusing, if slightly slow start, but don't let that tempt you into setting it aside before you reach the challenge awaiting Asim and Dabir in the "desert of souls" that lies, physically and metaphorically, at the heart of the story. Howard Jones, through Asim, his heroic narrator, displays a consummate gift for storytelling that immerses you fully into the world of the Arabian nights while leaving you stunned by the frequent awesome beauty of his prose style. In spite of reading through the night, when Asim announced "this tale is done," all I wanted to do was open the book at the beginning and read it again.
In one word? Splendid!
It's written in the style of the Arabian Nights but with an emphasis on the action-adventure of a sword-and-sorcery tale. The author also conjures up new magical creations and beings not found in the typical Arabian Nights tale.
I'm anxiously looking forward to the next book in the exciting tales of the two intrepid heroes as they adventure across the Arabian Nights-style world of Howard Andrew Jones.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Howard Andrew Jones has produced a fantastic book combining the pulp tropes of thoughtful occult investigator and historical fantasy set in the exotic 8th century Abbasid... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Roman
Great characters, an exotic setting and a nice mystery set against a background of magic and swordplay -- all told in clear, easy-to-read prose. What the heck is there not to like?Published 4 months ago by Steve Goble
The cover of this book is what first hooked me. Then an endorsement on the cover by Glen Cook added to the interest. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Richard Fisher
I first came across Dabir and Asim when Howard submitted the story, "Servant of Iblis" to the anthology, "A Mosque Among the Stars"... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ahmed A. Khan
Many of the blurbs for Howard Andrew Jones debut novel, The Desert of Souls compare it to, among other things, Sherlock Holmes, The Arabian Nights, and the works of Robert E. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Charles R. Rutledge
The prose and the protagonist are wooden and stiff. I found the dialogue disinteresting and the action slow. Read morePublished 6 months ago by M. Brown
A wonderful sword and sorcery tale set in medieval Baghdad, "The Desert of Souls" is close to historical fiction in its beautiful detail about everyday life in the Islamic golden... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Maria A Guglielmo
I fell into the story right away. It hearkens back to RE Howard, Andrew Offutt, etc.. Great story, and you will be hooked into their adventure. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Tom Stedham
This book is barely good enough to rate three stars from me. The characters are uninspired and dull, except for Dabir, who should have been the main protagonist. Read morePublished 14 months ago by bonnie_blu