Tags: Kamran Pasha, Maimonides, novel, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin, Third Crusade
In one of those mystical, synchronous confluences of events, another novelist has taken on the legendary clash between Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. (My novel on this subject, The Swords of Faith, is scheduled for release on July 4th by Strider Nolan Media.) This moment in history draws us in, beckoning us to determine if there are lessons to be learned from these centuries-old events, involving epic clashes between Christians and Muslims in so-called “holy wars.” That’s what drew me to the subject: it is also what drew Kamran Pasha to the subject. I have read an advance copy, and offer my thoughts as a novelist working with the same historical events.
Kamran Pasha’s Shadow of the Swords is an imaginative story based on the factions and iconic historical figures participating in what history now calls the “Third Crusade.” Though set over eight hundred years in the past, Pasha raises issues stemming from the clash of religious fanatics, issues that still permeate our contemporary world. He offers the idea, a controversial and debatable idea with the potential to stimulate insightful thought and reflection, that the “Crusaders” of the late Twelfth Century were equivalent to Al-Qaeda of the present day.
Pasha delves deeply into character, with both the historical characters of his novel, and the characters he has created. His Saladin retains the noble qualities of the legendary Saladin of history, with the addition of some humanizing qualities that add richness to the story. His Richard the Lionheart emphasizes the brutal aspects of the Christian king’s nature, contrasting with the gentler, more just, more tolerant traits of Saladin. Another character is his creation— the alluring niece of Saladin’s Jewish physician whose complex nature is shaped by her tumultuous past. Her connections with both Saladin and Richard drive the story in suspenseful, exotic directions. His introduction of this character allows Pasha to bring Saladin’s Jewish physician, the revered philosopher Maimonides, into a prominent role in the story. This serves to emphasize that Jews and Muslims existed together harmoniously during the days of Saladin, often together opposing Christians from Western Europe.
Shadow of the Swords is scheduled to come out June 22, 2010. Kamran Pasha also wrote the previously published Mother of the Believers, written after Shadow of the Swords, but published before it. Mother of the Believers is about the early days of Islam. Pasha’s blog offers some fascinating observations about present-day events, including the Fort Hood attack by Nidal Malik Hasan and another post comparing a prominent Muslim terrorist to Jim Jones. Pasha, a Muslim, unequivocally condemns Al-Qaeda’s terrorist tactics and urges Muslims and Christians to adhere, in belief and deed, to the peaceful, constructive visions articulated by their faiths. His new novel, as well as posts at his blog, reflect this point of view.
Link for the purchase Shadow of the Swords at Amazon: