Daoud slung his bow across his back and drew his long, curving saif from the scabbard. The noonday sun flashed on it as he held it high. His men roamed and brandished their own swords.The band had caught up with them, and the trumpets and hautboys screamed death to the enemy while the kettledrums rumbled.There was nothing left to protect Charles d'Anjou now. There was not even time for the French leader to run. He seemed to know it. He had his sword out and he held up a white shield with a red cross.Urging the Arabian on, shouting the name of God, Daoud raced toward triumph....He is the man whom Sophia Karaiannides, accomplished courtesan and mistress to a king, is to serve without reservation.The alliance has been struck. The adventure begins....
rew Friar Mathieu from the stairs and vanished into the maze of rooms on the first floor of the palace.
Now, Simon thinks as he eases himself into his bath, he has met the hidden enemy whose presence he felt ever since coming to Orvieto. Evil as Satan, powerful enough to throw an army against a fortified palace, subtle enough to strike at victims no matter how well protected. A being of almost inhuman strength and skill. Cruel and pitiless, ready to murder anyone who stands in his way.
Certain as the judgment of God it is that Simon and the man in black will fight again. This is war to the death.
THE HOLY WAR
Anno Domini 1264-1266 Year of the Hegira 662-664
"That which striketh! What is that which striketh? Ah, who will convey to thee what the Striking is?" --The Koran, Surah CI
"How many men have slept in happiness, unaware that sudden death was about to strike them?" --Hulagu Khan
Daoud drifted in and out of consc
Just finished his 2 part novel the Saracen and all I can say is wow. that was good. Set mostly in 13th century Italy it is a royal tour de force. Excellent well-drawn characters, all flawed and human, none of them clear protagonists, you find yourself rooting for all of them even when they are against each other. He jugles a number of characters, male and female, excellently.
Shea gets his history right as he mixes christians, mamlukes, jews, tartars, moors and others with a perfect balance of realism to their actions. Also telling the story through a Mamluke in Europe is quite original.
The only regret is that I knew the history behind the Italian crusade so I knew how things would turn out. I wish I hadn't so I could have learnt as things unfolded
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