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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