Assassins of Alamut
This is a rare first novel that not only is well written and crafted by a confident author but is also solidly based on research and the life experiences of the author. Boschert draws on both his childhood and time in the British army, when he lived in Iran for more than five years, and this gave rise to his fascination with the time period for this story: the Crusades from the vantage point of the Persians. The pace of the writing is impressive; patient in detail without meandering dead-ends, or minutia for minutia’s sake, and enough confidence to avoid relying heavily on dialogue.
The book draws the reader into the plot, and we find ourselves thick in the world of 12th-century Palestine and Persia, following the life of Talon, a boy of 13, son of a Frankish knight, who has been captured by the Hashshashin (Assassins) and educated as one of their own. Talon falls in love with the sister of the Agha Khan; their love must be kept hidden as he is still, after all, a ferengi (foreigner). He is allowed to escort her for safety to the Alamut castle while the Khan travels to Palestine. These two, along with a trusted friend, escape danger and find themselves in the midst of constant adventure until they are separated, and Talon is “rescued” and reunited with his family. The sequel, Knight Assassin: The Second Book of Talon, continues the story.
Engaging and superbly executed, this debut is a great surprise. With maps and a short glossary, this book is an easy fit for public libraries and upper-level school media centers, as well as some community college libraries.