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review 2017-03-14 15:51
The Midnight Sea
The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element Book 1) - Kat Ross

FREE TODAY ON AMAZON 

 

Nazafareen's sister Ashraf was killed by the Druj (Undead things with iron swords and shadows whose touch meant death) when Nazafareen was twelve and Ashraf was seven. Now, all she lives for is revenge.

When the authorities-that-be discover she has the power to link with a daeva she willingly agrees to do so if this means that together she and the daeva will be a match for the Druj and able to hunt and destroy them. At first, she distrusts the daeva, whose name is Darius, thinking of him only as another kind of Druj but tamed and under her control – litle more than a sentient weapon. But living together, linked like that, she and Darius find themselves growing too close for her comfort in other ways.


This is an alternative version of ancient Persia and features a form of the dualistic Zoroastrian religion, in which two Gods fight an endless war, and people have to choose which side they are on, the Good or the Evil. (I have always found this form of dualism much more philosophically tenable than strict monotheism.) It also features both the prophet Zoroaster, the founder of this religion, and Alexander the Great, though here in this book they remain in the background; in Book 2, Blood of the Prophet, which I have already started reading, they both move into the foreground.

 

Extremely well written and highly recommended.

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review 2016-07-07 04:04
My eighth podcast is up!
Discovering Cyrus: The Persian Conqueror Astride the Ancient World (Iran's Age of Empire) - Reza Zarghamee

My eighth podcast for the New Books Network is up! In it, I interview Reza Zarmangee about his biography of the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great, whom he argues built the first true world empire. Enjoy!

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review 2013-05-07 00:00
Ancient Persia
Ancient Persia - Josef Wiesehofer Fabulous introduction to the turmoils inside and around the great persian empire. No, it does not spend chapters on breeding the persian cat, instead it focuses on most interesting story how the empire was born and how it has become one of the most powerful force of the times. An interesting read for anyone studying the topic, he would also find the references and bibliography very useful for further studies. Westerns should also take a peek at least, since the book shows how Pershians managed to create multicultural multinational world capable of conquering european 'white power' by the Middle Ages... It sure explores the political and economic ideas used within the lands, presents how fast-forward thinking and inventive the nations were and how it allowed them to develop and expand into major political power between pharaohs in the east and the nile, freezing himalayas and beyond, indian subcontinent and beyond, and finally the later catered european reach in the form of greeks followed by Roman Empires. The book examines certain beliefs and viewpoints introducing one the long debates as well as angles on the reason why the Persians chose to settle down and develop into powerful force of civilisation in a land so close to surrounding sands and how their civilisation might have helped save the western ones from the easterners at the same time improving economy and trade. Sure, it does require of reader to have some knowledge of ancient history but not as much as some university course books do. It is quite informative and with the text easily flowing through pages you do not feel overtly tired of reading them. It does leave you with some questions but it's what a book should do - give information in enough portions for an academic or interested one to find the book's contents useful while restricting and limiting itself for a normal person not to fall asleep by the tenth page. Wiesehofer managed just that, maybe a little too much of academic language is used but it's not a fasion/style weekly for teenagers so this shouldn't be held againt him. What really counts is how fluid the information crammed transfer to the reader is and how much of it is showed through those pupils of his/hers. A really good read for anyone, but not perfect... So when can we expect new edition with even more on the topic?
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review 2009-01-13 00:00
Epics of Kings: Hero Tales of Ancient Pe... Epics of Kings: Hero Tales of Ancient Persia: Retold from Firdusi's Shahnameh - Abolqasem Ferdowsi,Helen Zimmern I have an older edition of this book. I read it because it was mention in two other books I recently read. If you like epics, it is wonderful. It also includes a fore runner of "Rapunzel" in the story of Zal and Rubadeh which is better than "Rapunzel" for Zal refuses to climb up using Rubadeh's hair; he says doing so would besmirch it.
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