Thomas Asbridge

Onward Muslim Soldiers

In the Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World


Little, Brown 526pp £25 order from our bookshop

Almost 1,400 years ago, the established world order was overturned by the emergence of a dynamic new power in the Near East. From the mid-630s, fearsome bands of Arab tribesmen began to pour out of their homelands in the Arabian Peninsula. Within a few decades these highly mobile, mounted warriors achieved startling successes – overrunning Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Egypt with mercurial speed – and, by the middle of the next century, their descendants could claim dominion over a vast swathe of territory, stretching from the Indus River and the borders of China in the east, across north Africa to Spain and southern France in the west.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter