Review: The Bones of the Old Ones by Howard Andrew Jones

The Bones of the Old Ones
Howard Andrew Jones
Thomas Dunne, 2013

Howard Andrew Jones’ debut novel The Desert of Souls was one of my favorite novels of 2011. The Bones of the Old Ones , released just this January , takes up bare months after the first novel left off.  Asim and Dabir have taken up positions in the city of Mosul and as an uncanny cold grips the desert city the two long time friends find themselves called to action once more this time to aid the mysterious Najya; a woman hunted by a cabal of ancient sorcerer-assassins. The Bones of the Old Ones, even more than in Jones’ first novel, is a pure and unadulterated Swords and Sorcery novel.

Featuring mysterious magicians, a beautiful woman in danger, and two very human yet extraordinarily capable heroes The Bones of the Old One rockets forth at breakneck pace barely pausing for a breath as our two hero manage to stay a hairsbreadth ahead of the villains. Whereas the first novel saw Jones taking time to introduce our Asim and Dabir he all but disposes of that formality here spending what felt like a very brief chapter reacquainting readers with the two protagonists before thrusting them into danger.

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Review: The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones

The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones
The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones

The Desert of Souls
Howard Andrew Jones
Thomas Dunne, 2011

In 8th Century Baghdad the Captain of the Jaffar’s Royal Guard, Asim and the scholar Dabir are dispatched to uncover the mystery of a rune inscribed relic.  The Desert of Souls by Black Gate editor Howard Andrew Jones is a fresh look at the sword and sorcery genre in a Arabic setting full of vibrant characters, dastardly villains, and strange landscapes.  As Minsc said best:  “Adventure, excitement, and steel on steel.”  This is also Jones’ first novel and is perhaps one of the best debuts, likely the best debut, I’ve read since Ian Treglis’ Bitter Seeds last year.  The Desert of Souls is, in a word, awesome.  I don’t mean awesome in the colloquial sense that awesome has come to embody in recent years (though to be fair that applies as well).  No, rather I mean that literally.  The Desert of Souls does what the sword and sorcery (hell, any fantasy) story should: it inspires awe.

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