The Desert of Souls
The Desert of Souls by Howard Jones is a fantastic read. We travel back to eighth century Baghdad and meet Asim, the captain of guards for Jaffar, the Vizier and Dabir, a scholar also in Jaffar’s employ.
A simple market excursion suggested by Asim to sooth Jaffar after the death of a treasured parrot leads to a quickly escalating series of adventures. First, we encounter a mysterious prophecy on the fates of Asim, Dabir and Jaffar. Then, we run into an apparent thief carrying an oddly marked door pull. The door pull is stolen by undead monkeys and Asim and Dabir are sent to recover it.
On their journey to recover the door pull, Asim and Dabir have to overcome Djinns, necromancy, a fire mage and find a lost city. There are alos numerous bouts of sword play and a recalcitrant female student.
The story pulls you along with a rich interweaving of good old fashioned adventure and rich historic and scenic detail. As a good example of the historic detail, once you have finished reading the book (and you should), go ahead and look up Ja’far ibn Yahya on wikipedia. You will find that the prophecy was correct.
Along the way, Asim and Dabir learn to trust each others strengths and learn that they compliment each other. I have a feeling (hope) that this is the beginning of a fine set of adventures for these two. This one is highly recommended.