THE LION OF CAIRO, by Scott Oden

"A fast-paced, sweeping saga of war, intrigue and bloody revenge set in the squalid confines of ancient Cairo (circa 1300) and the opulence of the Caliph's palace." So sayeth a critic.
For a fanciful take on the Arab's view of the Crusades, this is the book for you. Assad is a child survivor of the Crusaders' siege and destruction of Askalon, a port city in present-day Lebanon, and his memories dominate his dreams and waking hours. Now an Assassin, Assad's current mission is to meet and evaluate the youthful Caliph of Egypt, an opium-addled youth dominated by his evil vizier. Can Rashid al-Hasan be saved from the poisoned cup? Will the harem-girl Parysatis find the courage to act? What about her slave Jasmine who falls afoul of the necromancer? Will the Crusader army turn back? And how can Assad, Emir of the Knife, withstand the magick of his possessed sword?
A fast-paced read from an author who never lets facts get in the way of a good story...and he says so right from the start. Too bad he's never met a pomegranate. I give this a 3.