Countless authors have swept us into the exotic east, but few based their tales there. In a time when westerners still spoke publicly about “the white man’s burden,” Harold Lamb was crafting action-packed stories featuring Arabs, Mongols, and Hindus as heroic, sympathetic, and believable characters: men of honor and integrity ready to lay down their lives for their countries and their comrades.
Assembled in this volume are four novellas and three short stories gleaned from the work of one of the greatest pulp writers. Lamb eventually won acclaim and awards for his accurate historical research and was regularly consulted by the State Department for his Middle Eastern expertise, but before any of that he drafted these thrilling tales of adventure.
In “The Shield,” Khalil el Khadr reaches storied Constantinople just before it is besieged by a horde of crusaders. He must survive the intrigues of his rivals, bypass the invading Franks, rescue the maiden under his charge, and escape with the city’s most fabulous horse. Journey to sixteenth-century India with the brilliant Daril ibn Athir, a skilled Arab physician with a sharp wit and a sharper sword that he must wield in three novellas to keep schemers and assassins at bay. Three shorter tales of heroes and maidens from desert lands round out this volume, a must-have for those who thrill to tales of bold deeds and daring exploits.
Harold Lamb (1892–1962), who wrote biographies and screenplays as well as historical fiction, is best remembered for his tales of Cossacks and crusaders.
Howard Andrew Jones is the managing editor of Black Gate magazine and the editor of the Bison Books editions of Harold Lamb’s Wolf of the Steppes, Warriors of the Steppes, Riders of the Steppes, and Swords of the Steppes.
Scott Oden, a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, is the author of Men of Bronze and Memnon.
“Lamb knew how to write straight-ahead adventure the way Michelangelo knew how to paint.”—S. M. Stirling
"Heavy on history but with enough action to give aerodynamic lift, Lamb's prose exemplifies and occasionally transcends the pulp genre."—Mike Pursley, PopMatters.com
"All of the stories collected in Swords from the Desert are excellent adventure tales brilliantly told, and they offer a wonderful glimpse of the culture and landscape where the Crusades were fought." —Eva Ulett, Historical Novels Review