Literature: The Crescent Moon Kingdoms

A fantasy series by Saladin Ahmed that takes place in an Islamic-inspired fantasyland, the Crescent Moon Kingdoms, rather than the typical Medieval European Fantasy. Dr. Adoulla Makhslood is a ghul-hunter in the city of Dhamsawaat, accompanied by his trusty sword-wielding assistant, Raseed bas Raseed.

While still retaining spirit of High Fantasy, although it seems a lot more comfortable as sword & sorcery (Heroic Fantasy) this series plays with character and setting tropes for a unique look on a traditional quest.

The first book, Throne of the Crescent Moon was released in 2012, and the follow-up The Thousand and One and at least one other sequel is forthcoming.


Tropes include:

  • Action Girl: Zamia Banu Laith Badawi
  • Badass Grandpa: Adoulla might count as one of these
  • Big Bad: Mouw Awa and Orshado
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Miri Almoussa
  • Big Eater: Adoulla again.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On the one hand, Dhamsawaat is saved for the time being, but the young and idealistic prince is dead and the Falcon Prince has taken on the powers of the Cobra Throne. Adoulla and Miri finally reach an understanding, but marrying Miri means that Adoulla, last of the ghul hunters, must retire. Raseed and Zamia also acknowledge their feelings for another, but Raseed decides to continue his training, which means he is forbidden to enter a relationship with someone
  • Black and Gray Morality: While Mouw Awa has to be stopped to save the city, both the current Khalif and the Falcon Prince are equally unappealing candidates to rule.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Dawoud and Adoulla both are drained by their magics. But the former literally spends the days of his life to power his magic, and acknowledges the events of the book take months off his life.
  • Celibate Hero: Adoulla unwillingly, Raseed because of his oaths.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Raseed considers the pile up of these in a single day to be an unsettling sign of what will follow.
  • Crapsack World: Between poverty, violence, ghuls, and political unrest, Dhamsawaat is looking pretty grim.
  • Death of the Old Gods: Literally, the Kemeti Dead Gods.
  • Death Seeker: Zamia.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: To Middle Eastern and Islamic cultures.
    • Abassen, the caliphate (khalifate?) in which the book takes place is patterned off of the Middle East. (The name is taken from the Abbasids)
    • The Badawi are analogous to Bedouins. "badawi" is the singular Arabic for nomad; "bedouin" is the anglicization. The region in which they live, the Empty Kingdom, might be a reference to the Empty Quarter.
    • The Soo Republic stands in for Darkest Africa. Not enough information is given to determine which specific parts of Africa.
    • Rughal-ba is probably India under Moghul rule, though it's not yet known if there is anything analogous to Hindu India. This is reinforced by the name of the capital, Tamajal, which is similar to Taj Mahal.
    • The War Lands to the north probably stands in for Europe. The sole named region is Braxony.
    • The Kem empire is one for ancient Egypt, complete with Pharaohs.
  • Freudian Trio
  • Full-Name Basis: Adoulla manages to recall Zamia's full name, which impresses her.
  • Genius Bonus: A few examples.
    • The Humble Students are a group of religious thugs who go around whipping people for infractions against the faith. How do you say "students" in Pashto? Taliban. Also doubles as a Bilingual Bonus.
    • The forked sword used by Raseed bas Raseed may be inspired by the Zulfiqar, a similar weapon wielded by Ali ibn Abi Talib.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: The Khalif is a cruel ruler, the Falcon Prince a reckless outlaw. Who would you rather see on the throne?
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The jackal-headed Mouw Awa.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Miri
  • The Hunter: Adoulla, "the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat"
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Raseed tries.
    • The Humble Students also do try but are really more obnoxious and arrogant than anything. Raseed is disgusted by a group of Students' treatment of Litaz, who is told to go back to "your perverted outlander neighborhood" because she interrupts them beating up a young girl they accuse of being a prostitute.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Raseed with a sword.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: The Falcon Prince.
  • Last of His Kind: Adoulla is the last ghul-hunter; Zamia is the last of Banu Laith Badawi.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Averted; oceans surround the Crescent Moon Kingdoms to the west, south, and east.
  • Love at First Sight: Raseed and Zamia, though it takes most of the book for either of them to admit it.
  • Mad Lib Fantasy Title
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Mouw Awa.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Zamia says that she can't change shape "when women's business is upon me."
  • Oddly Shaped Sword: Raseed's forked blade. Also counts as a Cool Sword.
  • Older Than They Look: Dawoud. See Cast from Hit Points above.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: More like golems or zombies, depending on the situation
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Zamia is considered "Angel-touched" for her shapeshifting ability. Adoulla also comments that he didn't know girls could be shapeshifters.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Skin-ghuls
  • Pedophile Priest: Why they decide to send the orphan boy to his aunt the brothel madam, rather than put give him to a religious charity house.
  • Phantasy Spelling: It might just be alternate transliterations of Arabic terms; still, the book is riddled with "alkhemy," "faroes," and of course, "ghuls."
  • Proud Barbarian Race Girl: Zamia.
  • Religion Is Magic: Adoulla destroys ghuls by quoting Scripture at them.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Kem empire might be long gong, but some of its secrets still lay hidden. Adoulla faced one of their constructs - a giant serpent construct made out of gold and with giant rubies for eyes - when some poor fool wound up digging it out.
  • Shoot the Dog: Assuming that he's telling the truth, the Falcon Prince drinks the Prince's blood with his permission, only to discover there are no "good" powers granted by the Cobra Throne.
  • Screw Politeness Im A Senior: Adoulla doesn't care who hears him making seditious remarks about the Khalif.
  • Title Drop: When they finally translate the ancient text, guess what it mentions?
  • The Stoic: Raseed
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Zamia turns into a lioness.
  • Warrior Monk: Adoulla, to some extent.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Prince Sammari, the Heir. Then again, he is nine.
  • The X of Y: Throne of the Crescent Moon