This is my second post in the “James Boschert’s Talon Series”. To read my other post so far, more information on the other books, and upcoming posts in the series, please visit my “James Boschert’s Talon Series” page at the top.
James Boschert’s first novel, Assassins Of Alamut, takes place in the 12th Century. Immeshed in the Crusades, it is the story of Talon, a young Frank who is captured by the Ismaili Muslims, themselves hunted by the Sunni and Shi’a. He is raised as a Ismaili, and trains to become a Hashshashin (Assassin), utilized by the Ismaili to defend themselves.
As Talon moves up the ranks, he develops skills only master assassins have. He slowly starts to realize, however, that there is treachery among the assassins, and he must defend himself, his friend Reza, and his forbidden love Rav’an from the traitors that lurk behind every shadow in the Holy Land.
Alamut Region. Credit Here.
Boschert’s first novel is a rare one because he has experienced first-hand this region, can speak Farsi, and knows Persian history like the back of his hand. He also can connect to Talon’s plight in the assassin community because he is a Brit who explored this region, not a native. His dual connection to both sides of this book brings it to life like none other.
The book’s length may be daunting to some readers, but it is well paced, with detail that absorbs us but allows for great action scenes. Also, this is not purely historical fiction nor military history; it combines both to make multi-dimensional characters and the events and locales around them.
Assassins of Alamut is executed perfectly, great for readers of historical fiction and military history both. It brings a new dimension to the time period of the Crusades, with personal experience tied with great accumulated knowledge of the period.
Next will come my review of the sequel, Knight Assassin.
James Boschert grew up in the then colony of Malaya between the ages of four and eleven. The Chinese communists were active in the jungles at the time threatening the entire country with a cruel insurgency. His school was burned down and the family survived the ambush of a food convoy, saved by a patrol of Gurkha soldiers. He joined the British army as a boy soldier and later served in remote places like Borneo, Oman and other countries of the Middle East, eventually spending several years in Iran. While there he explored the castles of the infamous sect known as the Ismaili or Hashashini. It sometimes took a few days hard walking or driving to find these remote deserted fortresses high in the mountains of the Alborz in northern Iran. They eventually became the subject matter for his first book “The Assassins of Alamut” Escaping from the turmoil of Iran during the revolution he went to college and now lives in the USA.
He has developed a fascination for medieval history in general but in particular the history of the Middle East, Andalusia, Egypt and all the way to India. His books are historical novels about the medieval history of the same region but seen from both perspectives, that of the Crusaders and the Muslim world. “I believe that in order to put some depth to the Crusades one needs to look at what was going on all around them at the same time. I find the world at that time incredibly rich in every aspect.”
“The four legs of civilization as we have recorded it, Andalusia, Europe, Byzantium and the old empires of Persia and the Islamic world of Syria and Egypt make a rich backdrop for any novel.”
“The politics and under currents of the Middle East continue to hold my attention as they are always in flux and are never still.”