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Shadow of the Swords: An Epic Novel of the Crusades Paperback – June 22, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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—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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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!!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am absolutely in love with this book. Behind the cheesiness of the book cover is a wonderfully written story of the Third Crusades, and prominent figures of the time such as King... Read morePublished on August 24, 2013 by Caity
This was a fun and insightful read. It was hard to put down and pretty well paced. I would highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in the era the book is based on.Published on May 15, 2013 by Omer I
Enjoyed it. Recomend it. Could not put it down.All characters were thought out and spoke to me on an intimate level.Published on November 28, 2012 by khaldoun bitar
I bought this book august 1 2010 and just finished reading it today.3 days total.I buy 10 books a week but only read 2 or 3 in that time. Read morePublished on September 10, 2012 by Brandy526@aol.com
This novel ought to come with an "alternate universe" label. I'd call myself a casual scholar of the Middle Ages, but I found myself saying, "that can't be right! Read morePublished on January 21, 2011 by Literate - usually
As a prcticing, orthodox Jew, I was not expecting this book to be as eye-opening as it turned out to be. Although an acknowledged work of fiction, the message is clear. Read morePublished on December 20, 2010 by Rebshalom
I could not put this book down, especially towards the end. At the climactic struggle between Richard and Saladin, my heart was pounding, the story was so vividly told. Read morePublished on September 12, 2010 by Al Andalus
Kamran has put together a great story about all the moving parts that revolved around the lives of Saladin and Richard leading up to their epic battle. Read morePublished on August 22, 2010 by Amad Amin
I really did enjoy reading Kamran Pasha's second book, "Shadow of the Swords." The characters are well developed, and the storyline leaves the reader immersed throughout the entire... Read morePublished on August 22, 2010 by BookWorm1