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The Desert of Souls

The Desert of Souls - Howard Andrew Jones Sword and sorcery meets Arabian Nights in this book. A vizier's son Jafar grieves death of his favorite parrot, so the Captain of his guard Asim (the tale is told from his POV) suggests Jafar goes outside of his father's palace into the city like a common person; in my opinion to do so is to invite trouble which is proven in numerous books. Anyway, Jafar does so accompanied by Asim and a renowned scholar Dabir.

After aimless wandering around the local bazaar, the trio stumbled upon an adobe of a fortuneteller. Driven by curiosity, Jafar asks for their fortune, and the reading takes them by surprise. Dabir, a typical bookworm, would be a world-known monster slayer. Asim, a great swordsman, would become a famous storyteller. Jafar would reach greatness, but will fall because of a woman. Surely, their fortunes were mixed up. The fortuneteller also says that if they do not want to accept their promised fates, all they have to do is to stay inside the adobe for several minutes, otherwise they must leave immediately. The trio rushes outside without hesitation to meet great adventure and much greater danger.

This is a fast-paced and entertaining book. I also like the fact that I actually was able to relate to the main villain and could understand and somewhat support his motives. Dabir and Asim make a great duo which usually thinks first (Dabir) and then acts on it (Asim). Oh yeah, one more thing: the Matrix-style jump pictured on the book cover - it really happens in the book. The book deserves 4 very solid stars which come very close to 4.5 stars.