Pretty much every year since Audible started offering annual memberships packaged with a collection of discounted book credits I have raced sign up. When renewal time was upon me in 2013 I did not hesitate, even better, due to a clerical error on their part, Audible gifted me with a few extra book credits to spend this year.
As the year progressed I burned through my book credits pretty quickly. Even the extras. Around about January I was running low on credits with a significant back list of books to listen to. So, it did not look good when I met Howard Andrew Jones at Legendary Confusion. Too much to get through, not enough time to get through it all.
But a chance comment from him, overheard from a gaggle of milling authors during the AMA, had me pocketing the two remaining book credits in my possession, waiting months for the Audible release. “Peter Ganim will be doing narration” was more than enough to instill an overwhelming sense of jealousy (yeah, I really enjoy his narration) in me while at the same time claiming my remaining Audible credits.
Was it worth it? Wow, was it ever. DESERT OF SOULS is beautifully written. Howard Andrew Jones writes in a style that evokes the story telling of Robert E. Howard. But his characters are far more plentiful and completely fleshed. DESERT OF SOULS is unapologetic and easily transports the reader to another place and time when ancient sorceries and learned scholarship competed for control and supremacy. With Peter Ganim narrating, the listener travels the desert sands and rubs shoulders with hawkers of the bazaars of Bagdad.
My favorite scene is Asim’s telling of a tale inside the story while they sit on the deck of a sailboat. Howard’s expert juxtaposition of sensory information gleaned from the riverbanks and reeds of the river set next to Asim’s exposition of his encounter with a Greek was a kind of literary symphony. Wonderfully crafted, expertly told, naturally directed.
I listened to the majority of the story while driving from Colorado to Washington state this last weekend and given that I have very little recollection of the tremendous headwinds I battled coming across southern Idaho this story has been added to the shelf of favorites. Coming over Snoqualmie pass yesterday I actually found I was disappointed that there wasn’t more driving ahead of me. Despite the chronic butt rot which had taken hold, having gotten two chapters into the second book THE BONES OF THE OLD ONES I was looking forward to the time it would necessarily take to cross another third of the continent.