This is my second post in the “James Boschert’s Talon Series”. To read my other posts 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. Set in the time of 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), the protectors of the Ismaili.
In the second book in the series, Knight Assassin, Talon, with the help of his uncle Phillip, makes the trek back to his birthplace (and true home): France. When Talon returns, his homecoming is celebrated, but a dark threat looms over the reunion of the de Gilles family. Greed and treachery plague the French countryside, as claims to inheritance are fought for to the death.
Talon will rely on the help of some Welsh archers he meets at sea, along with his uncle’s sergeant Max. Most importantly, however, Talon must do what he never wanted to do again: become an assassin. He must meld the tactical skills of a French knight with the blade-in-the-crowd ability of the assassins if he is to save his family.
Knight Assassin is another magnificent continuation of Talon’s story. The feudal era of France is represented with great study, but also not dry history. The people of the novel are multi-dimensional, and are much more than what you are used to finding in similar novels. But for all this, the focus truly is on Talon. This allows the book to show the growth of the young man who has already been through enough bloodshed, enough loss, for one life. Talon himself is shown in a way that makes it seem like he was an actual living person, and I especially commend James Boschert on not having Talon take a turn for the darkness that consumed so many of the other characters in Knight Assassin.
Just as Talon has to take the best from both knight and assassin skills and hone them, Boschert does the same, taking the greatest parts from historical fiction, action, and military novels and melds them into the landmark “Talon Series” installments.
Next in the blog series will be my review of James Boschert’s Assassination in al-Qahirah.
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.”