by Steven Barnes
Category: Fiction / Historical
461 pages; ISBN: 0446526681
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Depending on who you are the year is either 1279 or 1863. Bilalistan is divided between Aztecs mostly to the south, Zulus and Arabs in the heartland, and some Vikings to the Northeast off the ocean. The native residents fled west towards the other ocean. To work the land, ignorant barbarians taken from the continent due east toil as slaves.
The coexistence between the three prime powers is turning uglier. Caught in the midst of the inevitably of war are two young boys. Slave Aidan O'Dere was taken from his Erin home while Kai is the youngest son of slavemaster Wikil Abu Ali. Though Dar Kush Plantation is known for its lenient treatment of the barbaric whites, going as far as allowing their pagan beliefs of worshipping the Son of Mary, the slaves hide their anger and humiliation. Soon due to dangerous circumstances caused by the increasing tension between the superpowers, slave Aidan and master son Wikil, though “friends” on the estate, must learn to trust one another if they are to survive.
Using an incredible pivot point (Socrates fleeing Athens for Alexandria), Steven Barnes provides an amazing alternate history tale that never slows down yet makes the audience ponder events. The action packed story line contains a rich background that enables the reader to accept Mr. Barnes’ premise and the occurrence of the subsequent events. LION’S BLOOD is a must read for sub-genre fans, but also historical fiction readers will want to do so too.
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