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Shadow of the Swords: An Epic Novel of the Crusades Paperback – Bargain Price, June 22, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. (July)
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“Two outsized legends of the Crusades—Richard the Lionheart and Saladin—face one another once again, this time as mortal men in this intelligent, incisive portrait of the quintessential east-west conflict.”

—Margaret George, bestselling author of The Memoirs of Cleopatra

“A ripping, action-crammed yarn, Shadow of the Swords puts us smack into the Crusades, making this period new and visceral and riveting. Kamran Pasha is a powerful new voice in historical fiction.”

—Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire

"Forget everything you think you know about the Crusades. In this gorgeously wrought tale, Kamran Pasha depicts the other side of the legendary struggle with startling modern relevance. His unexpected vision of charismatic Saladin, tortured Richard the Lionheart, and the proud woman who comes between them is passionate, gilded with detail, and steeped in the blood and thunder of two antagonistic faiths, vying for possession of a beleaguered land. A triumph from start to finish!"

—C.W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Original edition (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416579958
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,717,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alayne VINE VOICE on June 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Shadow of the Swords is somewhere in between historical fiction and history book. It's a serious novel, a bit dry in the beginning, but it ends with the heat and passion of the true history of the Crusades in the twelfth century.

Pitted against each other in this novel, as they were in the Crusades, is Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and Richard the Lionheart, the new king of England. When Richard's father, King Henry, dies and leaves the throne to his second son, John, Richard takes the throne by force. Determined to win the love of his nobles and subjects, and the admiration of his family, Richard embarks on a war to reclaim the city of Jerusalem, which has just been lost to Saladin.

Thrust in between these two powerful foes is Miriam, a beautiful, independent, stubborn woman, scorned for her religion as a Jew by both sides. Neither man can deny their growing feelings for this emerald eyed beauty, but her actions will surprise them both.

Beneath the plot of Shadow of the Swords lies evidence of Kamran Pasha's passion for writing and his love of Muslim history. He paints Saladin as a powerful warrior, terrifying and dominating, but also gentle and generous. Richard the Lionheart, known in history as a stubborn and evil tyrant, is shown as a human, with flaws but not always so heartless. The fictional love triangle is the tool Pasha uses to illustrate what these two men may have actually been like, aside from enemies.

The first hundred pages of this novel were a struggle at times, but the last hundred were fast-paced and thrilling. I learned things about this time period and history that I won't easily forget. All-in-all, Shadow of the Swords is a great novel for fans of historical fiction, who like something more serious than fluffy romance.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on July 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Few will argue the old cliché that there are "two sides to every story," or that truth requires consideration of both sides, especially when it comes to the study of written history. The tendency of history textbooks to present only one point-of-view brings to mind the famous Winston Churchill quote, "History is written by the victors." But the "victors," unfortunately, tell us only what they want us to know, and the losers generally have lost their right to argue the point.

Kamran Pasha's "Shadow of the Swords" is an opportunity for Western readers to look at the bloody Third Crusade of the late twelfth century through the eyes of Saladin, commander of the Muslim forces in Palestine at the time of Richard the Lionheart's invasion of the region. Note, however, that portions of the book are written from Richard's point-of-view, although Saladin's character remains the most influential one throughout the book.

Most intriguingly, at the time of Richard's quest to recover the Holy Land from the hands of the Muslim "infidels," the relative strengths and weaknesses of the European and Muslim worlds were near opposites of what they are today. The twelfth century Muslim world was well ahead of its European counterpart in the areas of science, mathematics, medicine, government and weaponry. Despite this, Europeans generally considered Muslims to be little more than barbaric infidels with no right to occupy the Holy Land, especially the city of Jerusalem. As Saladin and his people saw it, Richard the Lionheart was the terrorist of his day, leader of an army seeking to destroy Muslim and Jew, alike, in the name of Christianity. More than 800 years later, the roles and positions of the two cultures have largely reversed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tony Samadani on June 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
Kamran Pasha does it again. I was skeptical on how he was going to pull off SHADOW OF THE SWORDS, but he did it in a fantastic way! I have read many books, both fictional and non-fictional about the crusades. Usually they have a preachy tone to them, or rather slated take. I was 100% satisfied with this novel. It read very quickly and reads like a feature movie. I love reading Pasha's book because he is a successful Hollywood writer and the books flow naturally like a film.

Kudos Pasha. To anybody seeking an action-packed and very emotional ride - you will want to buy this book. As someone with historical knowledge of the last crusade, Pasha doesn't take that many liberties and doesn't veer off the path that much. There are a few obvious characters that are not part of history - but it makes for a better story - and hence the "non-fictional" novel.

Great job - highly recommend!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. Taylor on July 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
This novel is the second book by the author about the Crusades. The book starts with Miriam, a young adolescent who has just run from a band of Crusaders that had attacked her family in the desert. She watched in horror as her parents are murdered and her mother is violated. She is also violated and would suffer the same fate as her parents had she not cut her attacker with his own dagger and run. She survives but is deeply scarred. Picked up by a kind Bedoin, Miriam is given to her kind aunt and uncle, the latter being a rabbi, doctor, and close advisor to the current Sultan.

Fast forward a few years and Jerusalem is retaken by the Mideastern lot, the Muslims and Jews having joined forces. The kind rabbi brings his beautiful niece to Jerusalem with her aunt in order to protect her. She becomes a person of interest for the Sultan.

The historical portion of this novel is well over 50%. It is not so much a love story as a war story. The author wanted to write a screen play about the crusades so others would have a greater understanding of it. The idea came to him shortly after the attacks on 9/11. Being Muslim, he was disheartened by the extremists who were not following the teachings of Mohammad. He also saw the parallel between Al-Qaeda and the crusaders; extremists who do not represent the true teachings of Mohammad nor Christ.

I did not know the author was Muslim by reading this book. History of the two protagonists, King Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, the Sultan, paints the former as a young, brash, and somewhat power-hungry king who turned to perpetuating the crusades as a way to show his worth as king. The latter protagonist is known throughout history as a patient, merciful, and accepting man who showed chivalry, honor, and principle.
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