The Lion of Cairo

Genre: Historical fantasy
Setting: Cairo, late 12th century AD

Publication history:
First published: 2010 by Thomas Dunne Books
Published in the UK by Transworld/Bantam
Published in France by Bragelonne

On the banks of the ageless Nile, from a palace of gold and lapis lazuli, the young Caliph Rashid al-Hasan rules as a figurehead over a crumbling empire. Cairo is awash in deception. In the shadow of the Gray Mosque, generals and emirs jockey for position under the scheming eyes of the powerful grand vizier. In the crowded souks and narrow alleys, warring factions employ murder and terror to silence their opponents. Egypt bleeds. And the scent draws her enemies in like sharks: the swaggering Kurd, Shirkuh, who serves the pious Sultan of Damascus and Amalric, the Christian king of Jerusalem whose greed is insatiable and whose knights are hungry for battle.

And yet, all is not lost. There is an old man who lives on a remote mountainside in a distant land. He holds the power of life and death over the warring factions of the Muslim world – and decides to come to the Caliph’s aid. He sends his greatest weapon into Egypt. He sends a single man. An Assassin. The one they call the Emir of the Knife….

In this lighting-paced epic, bestselling author Scott Oden masterfully blends history and adventure in the style of Robert E. Howard. Bringing medieval Cairo, the true jewel of the Arabian Nights, to exhilarating life, full of intrigue and thunderous battle, Oden resurrects one of the ancient world’s most beautiful and beguiling countries.

“The mark of exceptional historical fiction is its creation of an alien world so convincing (and peopled by such fascinating characters) that the reader never wants to go back to the real world. Scott Oden delivers exactly that in The Lion of Cairo, a tale of Assad the assassin that reads like a cross between the Arabian Nights and a Hollywood blockbuster. Memnon and Men of Bronze put Mr. Oden squarely on the hist/fiction map. The Lion of Cairo assures his place in the very front rank.” —Steven Pressfield, New York Times bestselling author of Gates of Fire

“The Lion of Cairo is filled to the brim with assassins and concubines, caliphs and street thugs, the devout and the heretical. It’s partly a swashbuckling historical, partly a tale of palace intrigue, partly a fast and furious espionage yarn. A terrific trip into Cairo’s exotic past. Just pray that the Emir of the Knife is on your side…” –David Anthony Durham, award-winning author of Pride of Carthage

“A fabulous medieval adventure with plenty of swords and a hint of sorcery in the form of a demon-haunted sword that reminds me a bit of the one owned by Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné. Assassins and crusaders, caliphs, viziers and courtesans mix it up in a vividly recreated desert world.” –

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