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Oden, Scott The Lion Of Cairo

ISBN 13: 9780593061268

The Lion Of Cairo

 
9780593061268: The Lion Of Cairo
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The Assassin paid no heed to his quarry’s death throes. His attention remained fixed on the long blade in his fist, on its pommel of yellowed ivory carved in the shape of a djinni’s snarling visage.  “I am al-Hashishiyya,” he said to the glittering-eyed devil.  “I am Death incarnate.”

So am I, the devil replied . . .

            On the banks of the ageless Nile, from a palace of gold and lapis lazuli, the young Caliph Rashid al-Hasan rules as a figurehead over a crumbling empire. Cairo is awash in deception. In the shadow of the Gray Mosque, generals and emirs jockey for position under the scheming eyes of the powerful grand vizier.  In the crowded souks and narrow alleys, warring factions employ murder and terror to silence their opponents. Egypt bleeds.  And the scent draws her enemies in like sharks: the swaggering Kurd, Shirkuh, who serves the pious Sultan of Damascus and Amalric, the Christian king of Jerusalem whose greed is insatiable and whose knights are hungry for battle. 

And yet, all is not lost.  There is an old man who lives on a remote mountainside in a distant land.  He holds the power of life and death over the warring factions of the Muslim world – and decides to come to the Caliph’s aid. He sends his greatest weapon into Egypt.  He sends a single man.  An Assassin.  The one they call the Emir of the Knife....

In this lighting-paced epic, bestselling author Scott Oden masterfully blends history and adventure in the style of Robert E. Howard. Bringing medieval Cario, the true jewel of the Arabian Nights, to exhilarating life, full of intrigue and thunderous battle, Oden resurrects one of the Ancient World’s most beautiful and beguiling countries.

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About the Author:

SCOTT ODEN's fascination with far-off places began with the vistas of Robert E. Howard and Harold Lamb. He writes full-time from his home near Somerville, AL.  Visit him on his web site, www.menofbronze.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1 
 
The sun hung in the bloodred sky like a misshapen lump of copper, its edges blackened, its face radiating waves of excruciating heat over a landscape ravaged by war. Thousands of mailed corpses littered the streets of Ascalon—bodies frozen in the act of dying; hacked asunder, blades of steel and iron yet clutched in their fists. Tattered pennons once carried with pride by Ascalon’s defenders now rustled like ghosts on the hot wind.
As a ghost, too, did the figure of a dark-haired child drift through the great mass of the slain, swinging a wooden sword in boyish abandon. With it, he lashed out at imaginary enemies, the flash of his pale limbs incongruous in this gore-blasted wasteland. He chased the wind, chased zephyrs of dust through deserted plazas and down winding streets; past fire-gutted buildings looted by victorious Nazarenes. The wind led the boy to the city’s heart, to where a ruined mosque squatted in the middle of a broad square.
Here the boy stopped, tapped the ground with the tip of his sword. His brows drew together as he eyed the structure. Curious, he mounted the shallow steps and peered through the open doorway. Inside, shadows swirled like smoke from a funeral pyre; shafts of copper light lanced through ruptures in the domed ceiling. The boy caught sight of a figure pacing the periphery of the chamber, a lean wraith clad in a surcoat of grimy white cloth who warily avoided the murky daylight.
The boy’s youth made him fearless. He crossed the threshold, his voice profaning the silence. “What was this place?”
Instantly the silhouette stopped and spun toward the door, falling into a predatory crouch. It snuffled the air like a hound on the trail of a hare.
“Are you deaf?” the boy said. “What was this place?”
“A tomb,” the figure replied, its voice hard and guttural, full of rage. It crept forward, still in a crouch. “And a prison.”
The boy glanced around, disbelieving. “A prison? For what? There’s no door.”
“For a fell and terrible beast.” Closer it came. “One that has not tasted flesh nor drunk blood since before you were ripped squalling from your mother’s womb, little one.” Closer, sidestepping a column of light. Menacing eyes glittered and sinew creaked. Still, the boy displayed no trepidation; he stood motionless, unwilling to credit the stranger’s words.
“What kind of beast?”
Now, with only six paces separating them, the figure straightened. This close, the boy saw a design in blood caking the chest of the figure’s surcoat: a cross, red on white. The stench of death clung to it; the boy blinked, his nose wrinkling. The smell reminded him that perhaps he should be cautious.
“The worst kind,” it hissed. “One that hungers!” The Templar threw its head back, howling its rage as it sprang on the startled child. Too late, the boy raised his wooden sword as searing cold talons dug into his throat ...

 
Copyright © 2010 by Scott Oden

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ISBN 10: 0553819836 ISBN 13: 9780553819830
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