The Judas Blossom

Watkins. (The Nightingale and the Falcon, Bk. 1). Jul. 2023. 13:33 hrs. ISBN 9781915202789. $26.04. FANTASY
Aryan’s (“Quest for Heroes” duology) historical fantasy novel transports listeners to 1260 Persia, following four key players in the Mongol campaign to conquer the world. Hulagu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan and leader of the Ilkhanate, practices violence as his preferred method of extending control. Temujin, Hulagu’s youngest son and greatest disappointment, may not be the hardened warrior his father hoped for, but he harbors unknown powers that need only be awakened. Kokochin, Hulagu’s newest wife, is left to her own devices but soon discovers her power and allies. Persian rebel Kaivon knows he has a better chance of freeing his country by becoming Hulagu’s trusted general than as an outright rebel. Told in alternating points of view, the story is skillfully performed by narrator Mitra Djalili, who brings each character to life and allows listeners to glimpse their true motivations and personalities.
VERDICT Romance, friendship, violence, and supernatural powers permeate the tale, making this a great option for fantasy fans and new listeners alike. The real-world historical context of Aryan’s novel adds depth and will have listeners eagerly awaiting the next installment in this planned trilogy.
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