Friday, December 14, 2012

"The Bones of the Old Ones"

Howard Jones’s debut historical fantasy novel, The Desert of Souls (Thomas Dunne Books 2011), was widely acclaimed by influential publications like Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly, where it was labeled “a splendid flying-carpet ride.” It made Kirkus’ New and Notable list for 2011, and was on both Locus’s Recommended Reading List and the Barnes and Noble Best Fantasy Releases list of 2011. Additionally, The Desert of Souls was a finalist for the prestigious Compton Crook Award, and a featured selection of The Science Fiction Book Club. Its sequel, The Bones of the Old Ones, hit bookstores this week.

Jones applied the Page 69 Test to The Bones of the Old Ones and reported the following:
Come page 69 of The Bones of the Old Ones, our humble narrator finds himself across a game board from a brilliant young Persian woman, a general’s daughter, playing a forerunner of chess known as Shatranj. Captain Asim is growing increasingly uncomfortable with, and intrigued by, his opponent. He has never before talked strategy with a woman nor played shatranj with one, or even conceived that either event was remotely possible. Moreover, as the game progresses, he begins to realize that he may well lose to her.
…she knew far more about tactics and troop movements than many soldiers. She said it had pleased her father to speak of such things, and that she had first listened because she loved him. “And then I listened because I found such matters of interest. I used to beg him to tell me again of Iskander’s battles at Gaugmella or Granicus, and he would set out stones and sticks to show me how the units moved.”
It’s not necessarily a typical scene, because Asim’s best friend Dabir is off stage and there is no intellectual puzzle being solved or death-defying action underway. Yet it is typical in one way, and that is that over the course of the book Asim gets to interact with a lot of people from a lot of different walks of life, and they are sometimes different than he expects. For all that The Bones of the Old Ones is an adventure novel, it is one driven by the interaction of its characters.
Learn more about the book and author at Howard Andrew Jones's website.

Writers Read: Howard Andrew Jones.

--Marshal Zeringue