Monday 9 April 2018

A Discovering Diamonds review of Shadows in the Shining City by John D Cressler

AMAZON UK £5.27 £16.25
AMAZON US $7.46 £18.95  

#2 of a series

Fictional Saga / Romance
976 AD

'The Golden Age of Moorish Spain was during the 10th century, a time when the benevolent Syrian Arab Caliphs ruled Iberia from Córdoba, the site of the iconic Great Mosque and home to the Royal Library, one of the largest collections of ancient books ever assembled. 10th century Córdoba was the richest, most populous, and most cultured city in the western world. Under the tolerant Muslim Caliphs, the pinnacle of convivencia was attained, that unique period of Spanish history when Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together in relative harmony and peace. Multicultural Córdoba was an enlightened city that treasured its books, celebrated art and literature, advanced science and medicine, and its myriad accomplishments were envied by both the west and the east alike.'

In this, his second novel in the Anthems of al-Andalus series, Cressler has chosen one of the most interesting periods in the history of the Moors, the Golden Age of Moorish Spain and he transports the reader into an exotic world of wealth, culture and conspiracy.

It is the year 976 AD and the caliph al-Hakim has unexpectedly died and left his kingdom to an eleven-year old boy, leaving a power gap that is quickly filled by one of the most ruthless men in medieval history, Abi Amir. Years of peace and stability are under threat. Once a lowly clerk, Abi Amir, through a mixture of good fortune and cunning, soon becomes the most powerful man in the land as he gradually removes all those who threaten his ambitions. He allies himself to the Queen Mother and uses her to manipulate the young caliph so that he can rule in his place.

Into this political background of betrayal and intrigue, Cressler has woven a tender love story where Abi Amir’s daughter falls in love with a freed slave, defying her father’s wishes to marry her to one of his North African allies.

Although this is a period where little written history remains, Cressler has used his fertile imagination to create an exciting, well paced story of love, betrayal and ruthlessness, while staying within the bounds of historical fact.

© Joan Fallon

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