How did Islam begin? In the sixth century AD, the Near East was divided between two venerable empires: the Persian and the Roman. A hundred years on, and one had vanished forever, while the other seemed almost finished. Ruling in their place were the Arabs: an upheaval so profound that it spelt, in effect, the end of the ancient world. In The Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World Tom Holland explores how this came about. Spanning Constantinople to the Arabian desert, and starring some of the most remarkable rulers who ever lived, he tells a story vivid with drama, horror and startling achievement.
Tom Holland’s novels, most of which have a strong supernatural element, are set in various periods of history, ranging from ancient Egypt to 1880s London. He is also the author of highly praised works of history. The first, Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic, won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. His book on the Graeco-Persian wars, Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West, won the Anglo-Hellenic League’s Runciman Award in 2006. His most recent is In the Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World (2012). He has adapted Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides and Virgil for the BBC. Visit his website at www.tom-holland.org.
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