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Eric Ormsby…fast-paced and provocative new study…[Lewis's] darting juxtapositions of dynasties and of cultures give a vivid sense of the furious complexities of the age. He describes the simmering state of tribal relations in the region as constituting "a flammable symbiosis," but the phrase has wider scope. To judge from his account, that symbiosis was more pervasive than we usually realize, and not merely flammable, but dangerously combustible.
—The New York Times