In the summer of 634, an Arab army appears by surprise out of the trackless desert of Eastern Syria, moving across the land with a simple message: Convert to Islam, submit, or die. While the war-weary Byzantine Empire struggles to understand and meet this new threat, an adventure-seeking young Syrian Arab named Bashour, disenchanted with the theological controversy that wracks Christendom, accepts Islam because of its attractive simplicity and joins the invaders. Taken as booty from a town that resisted, a girl named Tamara is raped and forced into a sham marriage with a marauding Muslim.

Bashour finds more adventure than he bargained for. Distinguishing himself in a rash act of bravery, he’s offered a reward and chooses Tamara, whom he has admired from afar. She’s the object of his adoration, but to her he’s potentially one more in a line of rapists since she’d been captured. As they endure the hardships of an army on the move and a series of desperate battles, he tries to win her with kindness and heal her trauma. She, in turn, plants seeds of doubt in his new faith. Bashour must confront his crisis of faith as the war climaxes with a prolonged siege of Damascus and the treacherous betrayal of a peace pact after the city surrenders. If he makes the wrong choice, it could mean death – or his immortal soul.

This story takes the reader from the Byzantine Imperial court to the command tent of the invading Muslims, the army’s training grounds to intense pitched battles across the Syrian countryside. It plunges the reader into the religious and political controversies of the period, and gives the modern reader a view into the foundations of the current conflict wracking Syria. Timely and relevant to today’s headlines, it provides a window into a little-known era and provides a springboard for the reader interested in examining the earliest days of Islam.

The Tears of Jihad is quite simply one of the most epic, vivid, and astounding books I have ever read thanks to its wealth of historical information as well as the flawless literature courtesy of Sean Emerson. The Tears of Jihad is original and explores fascinating as well as terrifying topics that all revolve around the year 634. Never before have I been so incredibly engrossed in a historical fiction tale but Emerson managed to grasp me and capture me from his detailed description alone which had my mind whirring with thoughts. The Tears of Jihad indeed is a novel not to be missed, but if you need more convincing to read this tale, then please continue reading to learn more about this splendid book!

The Tears of Jihad is an in-depth book with a rich plot that has many fantastic layers that explores an invasion of the Byzantine Empire in the summer of 634. In 634, a ruthless Arab army with clear intentions appears from the desert and stalks the desert of Eastern Syria and invades the Byzantine Empire while professing one message which is “Convert to Islam, submit or die.” From this point onwards we meet a man called Bashour, a Syrian Arab who is attracted to the group of invaders thanks to their apparent simplicity and so Bashour joins the invaders and converts to Islam and thanks to his talents, he moves up the ranks relatively quickly. Bashour soon receives recognition for a particular event and he is rewarded. However the reward can be anything or anyone of his choosing, and he decides to choose a young, beautiful and kidnapped woman called Tamara. Tamara was kidnapped and has been sexually abused on more than one occasion and so she is fearful of Bashour. However, he is not the enemy as he admires Tamara.

The reader will follow Bashour, Tamara and the rest of the invaders as they cross from place to place, causing destruction and devastation in their path. Along the way, the reader will witness Bashour trying to win the affections of Tamara, and she will try and convert him back away from the terrible religion with horrendous ideologies. What follows is a gripping, unique, action-packed and poignant story that will delight, charm and thrill its readers from beginning to end.

The tale of The Tears of Jihad is one of an incredibly unique but thrilling nature which is incredibly entertaining… which is something I thought I would not write about a book that deals with some very troubling themes! The themes explored in The Tears of Jihad are brutal but necessary; subjects such as rape, abduction, and murder are all explored in this novel and the impeccable author Sean Emerson does not hold back on the details… which I may add I admired. I always love when an author is brazen with their work and not afraid to push the boundaries; Emerson does just this, and the result was a realistic look into brutalistic events which happened in the past and which are still happening today.

The history laced throughout this book is phenomenal and incredibly informative thanks to Emerson’s lengthy, well-researched knowledge that gives incredible depth to this book. In Emerson’s book, he explores the topics of military, politics and of course religion.. more specifically, Islamic thought and their teachings and what tactics they use to convert people and so on. For somebody that does not know much about these topics, I found it extremely fascinating as I was learning while reading. The Tears of Jihad is primarily a fictional story, however, events such as the ones that occur did happen, so it is enjoyable to read a fictional story while learning at the same time.

Sean Emerson is an incredible author, one I now will always follow thanks to this astonishing book of his. I admire Emerson for how much time and effort he has put into his book, the energy is evident and so is his passion to entertain his readers. As I read The Tears of Jihad I was frantic, it was an entirely different story to anything I have read before, so I was intrigued and left wanting more.. besides, it helps when the literature is compelling!

As The Tears of Jihad is a flawless, intriguing and gripping tale that will shock, charm and thrill its readers, I have no choice but to award this fantastic book Five Stars. Very rarely do I award Five Stars to historical fiction and this is because they are not in-depth to the level I would like but Emerson’s book is just that – in-depth, flawless and thrilling so please if you are a reader looking for a brilliant historical fiction tale then read this one and get lost in an exciting world!

Thank you so much for reading book lovers! I appreciate it so much and love discussing wonderful books with all of you so please, comment below and let me know your thoughts on The Tears of Jihad; do you see yourself reading this book? Let me know all of those brilliant thoughts of yours below! Thank you so much again for reading!

Goodbye for now book lovers,

P.S. Here is a preview of the book for all of you lovely readers to enjoy! Please have a read of the preview and if you find that you have loved what you have read then all you need to do is click the Buy on Amazon button and it will take you straight to the book on Amazon U.S.! If you are in the U.K. then below I have attached a link to the book for the Amazon U.K. I have also attached some links about the author and this wonderful book! Thank you so much again for reading book lovers, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this book.

Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.GoodreadsBarnes & Noble

Thank you so much again for reading!

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One comment


Thank you, Aimee Ann, for the wonderful review! The thing that keeps storytellers writing is to know people are entertained by their stories.

Tears of Jihad started from a debate I had with a Muslim girl in Cairo, who maintained that Islam spread peacefully. I compiled a list of hundreds of battles fought by Muslims in their drive to advance Islam across the world. One that stood out for me was the Siege of Damascus, and the betrayal of the refugee column who had been given permission to leave. I felt this story needed to be told, that westerners had no idea. The idea grew, and this book is the result. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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