cover image The Bones of the Old Ones

The Bones of the Old Ones

Howard Andrew Jones. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-64675-2

This rousing sequel to The Desert of Souls offers a mélange of ancient adventure myths populated by convincing, endearing characters. In the eighth century C.E., a period of frequent armed clashes between Byzantine Greeks and the Muslim caliphate, doughty Capt. Asim el Abbas and scholar Dabir ibn Khalil rescue alluring and aristocratic Najya binta Alimah from her kidnappers, the Sebitti, seven sinister wizards from the remote past. In Asim and Dabir’s subsequent quest to find and destroy the ancient and powerful bone-weapons also sought by the Sebitti and free Najya from the weapons’ soul-threatening spell, the friends experience one fearful ordeal after another, while brave Asim falls more and more for Najya’s wit, courage, and charms. As intricately woven as the magic carpet of Greek sorceress Lydia, Jones’s tale incorporates real historical personages and settings like Mosul of “haggard beauty” from the early days of Islam, and fills the pages with gallantry and glamour to provide a thrilling spectacle. (Dec.)