The Lion of Cairo
Ruling Cairo as a figurehead in 12th-century Egypt, a young Caliph is manipulated by his grand vizier, who uses drugs to keep him in a state of sedation. The vizier wants to take control of Egypt while planning the early demise of the young ruler. The Old Man of the Mountain, who has the power of life or death over the Muslim world, sends Emir the Knife, an Assassin, to help the Caliph regain power and eliminate his enemies. The Assassin is known throughout the Muslim world for his methods of killing his adversaries, many times assassinating powerful men and sometimes taking months to plan and exterminate his victims. In Cairo, he receives assistance from an underground network of spies and criminals, including two women – one who is in the harem of the Caliph, and the other, known as the Gazelle, with a spy network within the Palace – who help the Assassin accomplish his mission.
This is the first novel in a trilogy exploring the adventures of Emir the Knife. Really an anti-hero, he believes that the cult, led by the Old Man of the Mountain, is to maintain peace between the warring factions within the Muslim world.
This novel was a fun read. The author occasionally killed off key players in the story, especially those whom I grew to like. Certain scenes set the reader up for an anticipated resolution, but then the reader is surprised. This is definitely not a novel containing predictable events, and it is well-researched, accurately describing many Muslim customs and historical references. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy political intrigue, suspense and fascinating characters in a time period filled with drama and the enchantment of the Arabian Nights.
Early Medieval (to 1337)