• In the Shadow of the Sword

  • The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World
  • By: Tom Holland
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 17 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-04-12
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 (246 ratings)

Summary

In the 6th 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, Tom Holland explores how this came about. Spanning from 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.
©2012 Tom Holland (P)2012 Hachette Digital
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Critic reviews

"An unequivocal argument for the relevance of ancient history . . . Holland never strains for modern references; they are implicit in the stories he tells with such scholarship and flair.” (Geraldine Bedell, Observer)
“Brings this tumultuous, epoch-making period dazzlingly to life.” (William Napier, Independent on Sunday)
“Tom Holland has a rare eye for the detail, drama and the telling anecdote . . . A vibrant, bloodthirsty history, told with a rich sense of irony and irresistible narrative timing” (Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph)
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Regular price: £16.99

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By julien on 13-04-13

enlightening!

this book is a fascinating journey through the origins of Islam, and because the muslim sources are so few in regard of the actual birth of Islam, the author looks to the other civilizations surrounding it's cradle at the time to find clues as to what is true and what is fictional addition from later periods.



great narrator, thorough research. An intricate narrative that fits the complex cultural currents clashing at that time in that place.



highly recommend it!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Simon Zohhadi on 14-03-16

In The Shadow of the Sword

Just read In The Shadow of the Sword by Tom Holland. Aspects of this book have caused controversy amongst some learned Muslims. I am a Catholic but I have equal respect for Islam (and for that matter Judaism). For that reason, I will not comment on the controversial passages and my rating (5 stars) excludes the controversial issues. This may appear a strange decision but in reality the passages in question are few. Moreover, it is my view, that issues relating to Islam are best represented by Muslims themselves and the same applies to Judaism & Christianity; followers of our respective religions should have the final (if not only) word on matters relating to our religions. Otherwise, this account of the end of the Roman and Persian empires and the Arab conquests is fascinating. In the West, the Persian empires are not given equal weight to the Roman (and Byzantium) empire. Tom Holland gives a more balanced representation of these great ancient empires and suggests the reasons for their downfall and the swift and unexpected Arab (and Islamic) conquests of lands formerly under Roman & Persian empires. Much is said about the differences and conflicts between our great religions and of course an historical account will bring these to the fore. However, there is also a link and common ground between the monotheistic faiths. This book is relevant to current times but does it assist in bringing these faiths closer together with mutual respect or does it highlight the differences ?

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Barry on 22-09-12

Another great book from Tom Holland

What did you love best about In the Shadow of the Sword?

I've read and listened to four of Tom Holland's books, he has the ability to capture a lot of historical fact and put into a way of making it understandable.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Rick on 13-10-17

Captivating and informative

The author and the narrator cooperate to tell the story of the march of religion and culture through the end of late antiquity in a way that often has the feel of a rollicking adventure.

Though the information content is dense, it comes at the reader with the pace of a good story, and the picture it paints is illuminating and satisfying.

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