The first book in Russia's acclaimed Silk Road Trilogy, available in English for the first time, is full of mystery, memorable characters, and nonstop adventure. In the heart of the world, where empires collide, Nanidat Maniakh, a dashing trader, is enjoying the good life as head of a powerful silk dynasty. Yet Fate has other plans: Nanidat's world is suddenly torn asunder by murder and revolution, and the fate of his homeland hangs in the balance. Overnight, this able merchant must become a cunning warrior and spy, while eluding assassins, negotiating with kings, and pursuing a long-lost love. This thrilling and rich historical thriller, set in 749 CE—in the part of the world we now know as Iran, Iraq, and Central Asia—vividly re-creates a lost world, yet its passions and conflicts are entirely relevant to the present day.
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This is an interesting book for giving you a feel for the period in which it is set - central Asia in the crucial years when the Umayyad caliphate was overthrown and replaced by the Abassid caliphate. You can feel how the Arabs were resented by the Persians and other peoples of central Asia who had been conquered by them, even though these people had adopted Islam and to some extent become Arabized. The book also traces the origins of the Assassins to this period, many centuries before this notorious religious sect gained its reputation. The best I can say for the novel is that it whets my appetite to read the actual history of the period. The characters and their individual stories are less compelling and it probably would have been a better read had it not been written in the first person.