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Throne of the Crescent Moon (2012)

by Saladin Ahmed

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Crescent Moon Kingdoms (1)

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1,3559513,633 (3.59)1 / 90
The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings: Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, "the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat," just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla's young assistant, is a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety. But even as Raseed's sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the lion-shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. Until she meets Raseed.When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince's brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time -- and struggle against their own misgivings -- to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.… (more)
  1. 10
    The Will of the Wanderer by Margaret Weis (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Arabian Nights-flavored fantasy, and both are enjoyable adventure stories.
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» See also 90 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Sword and Sorcery with Arabian Nights flare, THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON was a book I would gobbled up and read endlessly as a teen. Instead of the usual medieval society setting we have a the lush and evocative world of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. Ruled over by the Khalif, but haunted by the master thief the Falcon Prince, the Kingdoms find themselves caught in the middle of the struggle even as the citizens are murdered by a terrifying supernatural force.

What drew me in the most by the book is that the language is so very different from many of the fantasies I read today. Even while tossing insults, trading barbs and outright insulting one and other the characters were formal in their speech and that intrigued me. Adoulla, our main character and an unlikely hero at the advanced age of 60, places great stock in the niceties, even while facing his foes.

Ahmed has a nice contrast between Adoulla's righteous, stubborn and sometimes reckless assistant Raseed, the vengeful, powerful and often violent Zamia and Adoulla's own arrogance and lassitude in regards to the future. This isn't to say Adoulla isn't keen to solve the murders, or find the Falcon Prince, but he's so confident he will that there leaves little room for doubt. He says it will be, so it will be.

For many this won't be their cup of tea--whether its Ahmed's choice of a hero or the more thoughtful, less action oriented tone of the book, this won't please everyone. For those who are looking for a fantasy with a different sense of magic, who's hero is confident in himself, and not some young pup fresh-faced and unseasoned...this will work wonderfully and make them eager for the next volume. ( )
  lexilewords | Dec 28, 2023 |
Throne of the Crescent Moon is a fantasy novel written by American writer Saladin Ahmed. It is the first book in The Crescent Moon Kingdoms series. The book was published by DAW Books in February 2012.The book was nominated for the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel, 2013 David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer and the 2012 Nebula Award for Best Novel. It won the Locus Award for Best First Novel.

Ahmed’s debut turns fantasy conventions upside down with its Middle Eastern sourced setting - which is rich in details. The story is set in the city of Dhamsawaat, which comes across as a mix between historic Baghdad and an Arabian fairy tale. And the story is somewhat of a mashup of genres: swashbuckling fantasy, horror, and mystery, and a bit of romance.

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood is a professional destroyer of ghuls, clawed creatures whose hissing sounds like “a thousand serpents rasping with a man’s hatred.” He’s almost ready to retire, and drink tons of tea, when an unheard-of number of the monsters all but wipe out an entire clan of the Badawi people. Hunting the sorcerer who raised the ghuls, Adoulla and his religiously uptight swordsman apprentice, Raseed, are aided by the lone Badawi survivor, a girl named Zamia who can transform into a lion. They soon discover that the mysterious figure plans to cast an ancient sacrificial spell powerful enough to wreck the world.
It doesn’t help the fact that Dhamsawaat is in a state of unrest. Could these ghastly supernatural murders be part of a plot aimed at the Throne of the Crescent Moon itself?

Ahmed spins a seriously engaging adventure tale about an old sorcerer who pledges to defeat evil one last time before marrying the prostitute he's loved for decades. The vivid world of the Crescent Moon Kingdoms is rich with allusions to Middle Eastern folklore and culture, and that alone makes it worthy of attention. I really loved that Adoulla’s magic is faith-based, and the contrast between his faith and Raseed’s. The city, the tribes, the history … everything feels real. Ahmed isn’t just slapping in two-dimensional set pieces....this is a richly detailed world.The Arab-influenced setting is full of vibrant description, characters, and religious expressions that will delight readers weary of pseudo-Medieval European epics in the tradition of Tolkien, Robert Jordan, or George R.R. Martin.

If I had to have a complaint, I would say that the rich detail and fluid prose is so easy to get lost in that one is capable of not caring as much for the characters as I did the Middle Eastern setting, folklore, and turns of phrase. (Don't get me wrong: the characters are far from dull but I'm not quite sure if I've quite connected with them either). But still, that being said, this is fun first novel, in an intriguing setting with an equally intriguing premise: the last hurrah of an elderly demon hunter.

( )
  ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
Totally solid fantasy with good characterization. I'm looking forward to the next one much more than these three stars let on. ( )
  mmparker | Oct 24, 2023 |
One of the first things you're likely to hear about Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon is that the novel is a departure from the standard fantasy fare of a farm in a generic European countryside. Instead, the first book in The Crescent Moon Kingdoms series takes place in the city of Dhamsawaat, an Arabic-themed setting where ghuls and corrupt Khalifs alike pose a threat to the people who inhabit it.

Adoulla Makhslood is the unlikely protagonist, a 60+ year old man who also happens to be the last of the real ghul hunters in the city. With the threat of ghuls growing worse than ever, and Adoulla dreaming of rivers of blood in the streets, it's a good thing that old age hasn't stopped him from being something of a badass.

He's joined by his ghul hunting partner Raseed, a Dervish warrior whose devotion to God guides his every action -- and frequently his mouth. Usually at inopportune moments. The two then meet the outlander Zamia, who is blessed with the ability to take on the form of a lion, but saddled with the burden of being the only surviving member of her tribe, and driven by the desire to avenge them.

Other characters include the married couple Litaz and Dawoud, as well as a mysterious Robin Hood figure known as The Falcon Prince.

While Ahmed's characters are compelling, sympathetic, and entirely relatable, his worldbuilding is where the story really shines, and the city of Dhamsawaat come to life easily in its pages. The group's battle against the zombie-like ghuls (not to mention the monstruous creature Mouw Awa and his shady "friend") is joined by the threat of a brewing civil war, and conflict between different classes, cultures and religious outlooks. Not to mention simple city traffic.

Although this is the first book in a series, the novel functions as a stand-alone story. However, I will gladly read any other books that come out in this world.

I loved Throne of the Crescent Moon, and despite the higher than usual price for the Kindle version ($11.99 at the time I bought it), complete with the inability to loan the book out (for extra frustration!), I definitely feel as though I got my money's worth. ( )
  yoroshiqueen | Jul 8, 2023 |
This book was really, really stupid. Not particularly interesting fantasy, with the distinct advantage of being set in Ye Olde Fake Medieval Baghdad, which is a step up from fantasy set in Ye Olde Fake Medieval Europe. For a while, I thought that one of the characters was actually a girl masquerading as a boy, which I was kind of psyched about, so I was totally disappointed when he turned out to be a boy after all. Goodreads indicates that there's a sequel planned. The world can wait. ( )
  leahsusan | Mar 26, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Set in a quasi-Middle Eastern city and populated with the supernatural creatures of Arab folklore, this long-awaited debut by a finalist for the Nebula and Campbell awards brings The Arabian Nights to sensuous life. The maturity and wisdom of Ahmed's older protagonists are a delightful contrast to the brave impulsiveness of their younger companions. This trilogy launch will delight fantasy lovers who enjoy flawed but honorable protagonists and a touch of the exotic.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Jackie Cassada (Jan 1, 2012)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saladin Ahmedprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chan, JasonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To my parents, Ismael Ahmed, and the late Mary O'Leary, who introduced me to the fantastic world of books; to my wife, Hayley Thompson, who supported me in countless ways as I wrote this one; and to my children, Malcolm and Naima, who make this broken world beautiful enough to keep living and writing in, this is for you.
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Nine days. Beneficient God, I beg you, let this be the day I die!
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The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings: Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, "the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat," just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla's young assistant, is a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety. But even as Raseed's sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the lion-shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. Until she meets Raseed.When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince's brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time -- and struggle against their own misgivings -- to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.

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From Saladin Ahmed, finalist for the Nebula and Campbell Awards, comes one of the year's most anticipated fantasy debuts, THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON, a fantasy adventure with all the magic of The Arabian Nights.

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings:

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, "The last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat," just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame's family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter's path.

Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla's young assistant, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God's justice. But even as Raseed's sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.

Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man's title. She lives only to avenge her father's death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father's killer. Until she meets Raseed.

When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince's brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time--and struggle against their own misgivings--to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.
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