The Desert of Souls

The Desert of Souls: Dabir & Asim, Book 1
Release Date: 03-26-14
where I got it: second to last Audible credit


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.

Packing for Detroit

Good grief! I’ve got to pack my bag for Legendary ConFusion this afternoon. The cards look awesome, I’ve already given out a couple and they seem well received. I ended up choosing to go with the Luxe stock from Moo and they color matched the middle layer of red with the cover colors so the whole thing has heft and looks really sweet. You could frame these cards and mount them on your wall they are that nice. Again, a huge thanks and plenty of kudos to Jeffrey Witty, the incomparable artist who did the amazing cover work.

After a little prompting from friends at the Rec Center and elsewhere, yesterday, I started writing a mémoire ostensibly about the rescue of Jim Nee and some of my trail running experiences. My intent is to submit this work to Amazon’s Kindle Singles program when it is done. My intent is to weave together a number of story threads that I have blogged about or talked about in the past, but never really given the treatment they deserved. The outline is coming along, and I knocked off the first 1,000 words yesterday. I need to wind up my time machine and start finding the news articles that aired about that particular event, but much of the research is already done (because I lived that whole thing).

Finally, I have a gear review for BackpackingLight that I need to start working on. The good news is that this is not a long piece, but it is due in April. I need to get these shoes out and up a number of trails so that I can objectively provide some insight into the performance characteristics of these Keens. Right now I’m actually very happy with them, they are waterproof and comfortable.

So one last time, if you’re going to be Legendary ConFusion and want to hook up let me know so that I can keep an eye open for you. I’m planning on learning a lot while I’m there, but none of that should get in the way of meeting new people and having a great time.