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Shadow of the Swords    by Kamran Pasha order for
Shadow of the Swords
by Kamran Pasha
Order:  USA  Can
Washington Square, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Like a pageant, the fabled meeting between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart unfolds in this story. Written as it is mainly from the perspective of Jewish doctor Maimonides, we learn a great deal about the Jewish and Islamic points of view at this historic time.

To help the story along, Maimonides' beautiful but fictitious niece becomes the foil for the meeting of the two charismatic leaders and the unfolding of their destiny. Author Kamran Pasha has provided a moving portrait of Saladin as not only a great warrior and visionary leader, but as a man whose absolute leadership leaves him very lonely. The Christian point of view is carried by another fictitious character, Sir William Chinon, a loyal advisor and friend to Richard. William's concern about this particular Crusade is well-justified by the events here recounted. Richard's background as well as the situation he meets in the Holy Land, leave little room for him to have any kind of a life except as a fighter, and he never disappoints his men in this respect. The details of the Crusaders' plundering and vengeance, in addition to the bloodletting in all the battles, is brought to vivid reality here.

A silent character in the story is Jerusalem, for the possession of which all sides are prepared to die. The reasons for this are quite well explained, and it is truly sad (especially because of the echoes forward to today) to see good men on all three sides mourning the loss of access to their sacred places. The close relationship of Jews and Muslims at that time is another fascinating aspect brought out in this novel. Would that this were true today! As you can see, this novel has much to offer Crusader story enthusiasts.

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