Jebel Rum is the runt of his family, and has been publicly shamed by his father, the much honored executioner of Wadi. Jebel wants to compete in the competition to become the next executioner, but knows he has no chance of winning. Jebel decides to set out on a quest to ask the high god Sabbah Eid for invincibility. The quest will be long and hard and take many months. Not only that, but Jebel must find a salve that will go with him, and then allow himself to be sacrificed to the high god.
Jebel finds Tel Hesani, who is willing to sacrifice his own life in return for his family's freedom, and the two set off. Things do not go as planed.
So this was fun. Adventury, quest filled, evil lurking at every corner. Bratty spoiled rich boy who Learns A Valuable Lesson. Eventually. It took him a long time to learn his valuable lesson. Man. Jebel sure was full of himself. Darren Shan wrote the Cirque Du Freak series, his horror background comes through, although only a little. It was mostly straight adventure, with some monsters and grave robbing and cannibalism thrown in. That kid that comes into your library who loves adventure and gore will love this.
Something I want to talk about though. So, in this world, which I think is supposed to be far far far in the future when civilization has collapsed, the ruling class, the ones with all the money and power, is described as dark skinned. The slaves are white. Interesting. In the future our Western Civilization has failed and so on and so forth. A lesson to us! Except...not quite. The dark skinned ruling class are blood thirsty warriors who worship multiple gods. The light skinned slaves worship one god and it's Tel Hesani, the white slave, who shows Jebel what it is to really be a man. Am I reading to much into this? Or did this book try to switch things around but end up giving us the same old story: it takes a white man to help the lessor dark skinned peoples see the errors of their ways. Hmm. I don't know. But I was definitely thinking about it as I read. It was giving me sort of a funny feeling. If you read this, let me know. We should talk.