As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

May 1, 2011

THE DESERT OF SOULS by Howard Andrew Jones, 2011

The Desert of SoulsIn 8th century Baghdad, a stranger pleads with the vizier to safeguard the bejeweled tablet he carries, but he is murdered before he can explain. Charged with solving the puzzle, the scholar Dabir soon realizes that the tablet may unlock secrets hidden within the lost city of Ubar, the Atlantis of the sands. When the tablet is stolen from his care, Dabir and Captain Asim are sent after it, and into a life and death chase through the ancient Middle East. (Amazon)

Reviewed by Megan Hutchins

This felt like it sprang straight from the pages of Arabian Nights.  Our hero is always off on an adventure, chasing the villains, being chased himself, and escaping from larger-than-life monsters.  

I wasn't sure what to expect, but this was a very refreshing read.  The book's told through the eyes of our hero, Asim, who relates the tale with an understated humor I loved.  Asim is the kind of hero I could get behind and cheer for at the top of my lungs.  He's loyal, he's honorable, he does what he believes is the right course of action, no matter if it might cost him his life to a dagger-throwing enemy, an undead monkey, or his angry master.  His honesty, humor, and fears make him feel real and human. 

The book has a wide cast of characters, from scheming Greeks to the strong-willed vizier's granddaughter, who gives Asim more than one headache.  While it's written for the adult market, I'd happily recommend this to the teenagers I know.  It really does feel like Arabian Nights -- a ripping adventure that tears us from the heart of Baghdad and back again.  The author did an amazing job of setting the scene with the appropriate details for the time period without slowing the pace of the narrative.  This book has all the excitement of a great adventure, without buckets of gore or steamy scenes; in that way, it reminded me of the movie National Treasure.  This book was undiluted goodness.

One of the character's fates was left a little less detailed than I would have liked, but I hear rumor that a sequel is coming.  I'm definitely reading it.

Market: Adult Fiction
Language: Mild
Sensuality: Mild (Less than most PG movies I've seen)
Violence: Moderate: quite of lot of duels with sharp swords, some magical violence.
Mature Themes: Death, revenge, arranged marriage

Book formats:

To learn more about the author, visit: Howard Andrew Jones


pie said...

This sounds really interesting! And I like the colors on the cover.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an awesome book! Great review, Megan! I'll definitely check it out.