The Lion of Cairo by Scott Oden
“The sun hung in the blood-red sky like a misshapen lump of copper, its edges blackened, its face radiating waves of excruciating heat over a landscape ravaged by war.” … Welcome to Egypt!! The Lion of Cairo takes place, well, mainly in Cairo of course! It's the middle of the twelfth century, during the times of the Crusades. On Cairo's throne sits a young Caliph, but his vizier is the one in power. He keeps the Caliph drugged so that he can plot and scheme his way towards the throne. This doesn't sit well with Alamut, master of the al-Hashishiyya, who realises a strong and united Egypt is required if they want to get rid of the Crusaders. To this end he sends Assad, an experienced assassin, to protect the Caliph from harm and to sow fear in his enemies' hearts. Most of the book takes place in 2-3 days, and very hectic ones at that! The allies of the Caliph have to act quickly if they're to prevent their drugged liege from being discarded. And if the threat of the vizier isn't enough, news also reaches them of two approaching armies and the presence of the rivalling clan of al-Hashishiyya in Cairo. And what is a story about Egypt without a curse?
Scott Oden was clearly inspired by The Thousand and One Nights but luckily The Lion Of Cairo doesn't take as long to read! The story is fast-paced and full of action, with never a dull moment. The vocabulary made it quite hard to read though, Scott Oden is obviously well-read on the topic but for someone who's not it's quite hard to keep track of all the Arabian terminology. With all the ibn's and al-'s it was harder to understand the names at first, so I had a quite a few “Wait a minute, wasn't he the guy who…”-moments.
However, the story is very strong, the characters really adapt and make new plans in a realistic way. Assad certainly hasn't got an easy road ahead of him, just because he's the main character. And all the characters have their flaws and problems, for some it feels like the world is at an end while others are prone to overconfidence. Neither are they invincible, something that some writers don't understand. What I missed most in this book was any form of humour though, and I feel like a little black humour would've added a lot to the quality of the book.
The way of writing reminded me a lot of David Gemmell, because of its maturity. The world is dark, full of people who only care about their own gain. The combat is neither glorified nor fair, and quite gory. From time to time Assad gets flash-backs to when he fought to defend a city besieged by Templars, and those sure don't paint a pretty sight!
Artfully blending history, myth and adventure, Lion of Cairo offers a refreshing new stage for an epic to unfold. The ending has some loose ends and I look forward to reading the sequel to this story. It's not often after all that you read such an interesting and detailed story in an Egyptian setting!
This The Lion of Cairo book review was written by Koen Peters
Have you read The Lion of Cairo?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Lion of Cairo reader reviews
8/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The year is 1939. Raybould Marsh and other members of British Intelligence have gathered to watch a damaged reel of film in a darkened room. It appears to show German troop...
Guy Gavriel Kay
Set in a beleaguered land caught in a web of tyranny, Tigana is the deeply moving story of a people struggling to be free. A people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the t...
A Christmas Carol
It is Christmas Eve in Victorian London, and all around the snow-covered city people are rushing home to be with their families. All except one man, that is: Ebenezer Scroo...
In the winter of his eleventh year, Little Hawk goes deep into the forest, where he must endure a three-month test of solitude and survival which will turn him into a man. ...
As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee think they understand the society they live in and their place within it. At a select academy they study new airs...
The Moon and the Sun
Vonda N McIntyre
Louis XIV, the Sun King, rules the Western World from the Chateau at Versailles. Marie- Josèphe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her brother in the scientific ...
Come one come all to greatest city in the world. In London, all men are free, the streets are lined with gold and the naughty ladies are friendly to all. In London there ar...
Who or what is Endymion Spring? A power for good, or for evil... A legendary book that holds the secret to a world of knowledge... A young boy without a voice - whose five-...
The Deverry Cycle
In a world outside reality, a young girl's spirit hovers between incarnations, knowing neither her past nor her future. In the temporal world lives Nevyn, who long ago ...
Great fantasy books published in 2010
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Five hundred years into the third age of flight and mighty phraxships steam across the immensity of the Deepwoods, plying their lucrative trade between the three great citi...
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky - a palace above the...
Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defe...
My name is John Cleaver. I live in Clayton County, in a mortuary on the edge of town. I have a mother and a sister and an aunt. I’m sixteen years old. I like reading,...
An indispensable guidebook to the Soul Society, Color Bleach+: The Bleach Official Bootlegtakes you behind the scenes in the shadowy world of the Soul Reapers. All Thirteen...
The Way of Kings
Roshar is a world of stone swept by tempests that shape ecology and civilization. Animals and plants retract; cities are built in shelter. In centuries since ten orders of ...
Once Walked With Gods
The elves have fled to Calius, seeking to escape the overwhelming power of the demonic Garonin. A desperate last stand in their own dimension saved the race, at the cost of...
Towers of Midnight
The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One's prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unravelling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to spill out o...
The Broken Kingdoms
In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homele...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: