Michael Chabon is quite skilled at providing new twists to established writing styles. This Pulitzer Prize winning author has tackled murder mysteries (The Final Solution, and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union), comic-book heroes (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier& Clay), and in this immediate story, a swashbuckling swords-and-sandals tale of tenth-century adventurers.
In an unusual twist from typical adventure tales, the two protagonists are highwaymen, one a rail-thin Jewish European (of course he’s a doctor too) and the other a tall African who claims the Queen of Sheba as an ancestor. Both men are educated and eloquent, with curious passions (hats and horses) and lots of verbal by-play in between sword fights and saving people in distress. Set sometime in the 900s, the story offers insights into the lifestyles and politics of that age, including a Khazar prince, murderous “beks” (something like a regional governor), Radanites, mahouts, and war elephants.
An entertaining read … enjoy …
A dissenting Opinion on this book from the Village Voice