Dhamsawwat, opulent capital city of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms, shrouds a tyrannical Khalif and shambling street-urchins, a duo of alchemists, and a rebellious conqueror by name of the Falcon Prince, eager to seize the throne from its monarch’s thieving clutches. Alleyways teem with unprecedented horrors, and, lurking in the shadows of an Arabian evening, a writhing, humanoid beast gorges itself on souls. Ghul-hunter Abdulla and dervish Raseed embark on a crusade against these seemingly inexplicable attacks, marveling at the power of their allusive perpetrator. Craving vengeance, a shape-shifting tribal woman unites with our twosome, desiring no less than death for the heathen who slaughtered her band. As their wits, martial prowess, and alchemy are pitted against the fiercest evil ever known, the trio soon becomes all that remains between Dhamsawwat and total annihilation.
The prose was electric in its simplicity, monstrosities such as bone ghuls and the ominous Jackal Man illuminated through a writing-style which perfectly skirts the boundary between succinct and Spartan. Ahmed’s deft pacing seamlessly integrates developments in both character and plot, neither of which is marred by stereotyped science-fiction protagonists. On the contrary, Abdulla’s balding visage and corpulent physique, when presented alongside the ferocious self-discipline of his dervish Raseed bas Raseed, makes for a powerful juxtaposition. As our heroes traverse the Crescent Moon Kingdoms, their ensuing escapades- whether against demonic fiends or inner-demons of their own- evoke pity and awe, suspense and angst, glee and wonderment. Imaginative as it is vivid, Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed breaks your heart, only to send it racing back amongst the gleaming temples of Dhamsawwaat.