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The Ismaili Assassins (Paperback)

A History of Medieval Murder

Medieval History Frontline Books Frontline: Medieval Women of History

By James Waterson, Foreword by David Morgan
Frontline Books
Pages: 227
ISBN: 9781526760821
Published: 22nd May 2019

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The Ismaili Assassins were an underground group of political killers who were ready to kill Christians and Muslims alike with complete disregard for their own lives. These devoted murderers were under the powerful control of an enigmatic grand master who used assassination as part of a vast strategic vision that embraced Egypt, the Levant and Persia – even the court of the Mongol Khans in faraway Qaraqorum was not beyond the reach of his shadowy followers and their blades.

The Assassins often slayed their victims in public, cultivating their terrifying reputation. They assumed disguises and their weapon of choice was a dagger. The dagger was blessed by the grand master and killing with it was a holy and sanctified act; poison or other methods of murder were forbidden to the followers of the sect. Surviving a mission was considered a deep dishonour and mothers rejoiced when they heard that their Assassin sons had died having completed their deadly acts.

Unsurprisingly, their formidable reputation spread far and wide. In 1253, the Mongol chiefs were so fearful of them that they massacred and enslaved the Assassins’ women and children in an attempt to liquidate the sect. The English monarch, Edward I, was nearly dispatched by their blades and Richard the Lionheart’s reputation was sullied by his association with the Assassins’ murder of Conrad of Montferrat.

The Ismaili Assassins explores the origins, actions and legacy of this notorious sect. Enriched with eyewitness accounts from Islamic and Western sources, this important book unlocks the history of the Crusades and the early Islamic period, giving the reader entry into a historical epoch that is thrilling and pertinent.

A book that cuts through the myth and legend of the Assassins and the Crusaders, setting out a fascinating history that has shaped the world today. The Medieval conflict between Christians and Muslims has many similarities to the Middle East today and the use of terror – Much Recommended

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Firetrench

An inherently fascinating, deftly written, and impressively informative read from beginning to end.

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Midwest Book Review

Enriched with eyewitness accounts from Islamic and Western sources, this important book unlocks the history of the Crusades and the early Islamic period, giving the reader entry into a historical epoch that is thrilling and pertinent.

Read the full Instagram review here

Loki Lebowski via Instagram

The Assassins were not only responsible in large part for the success of the First Crusade, with their killing of Nizam al-Mulk...They were also responsible for the counter-Crusade that brought Zangi, Nur al-Din and Saladin to the fray with the Crusaders, and ultimately led to the Malluk war machine that finished Outremer's existence." Waterson does not simply summarize outcomes and effects of the Assassin's presence throughout Middle Eastern history and society over centuries, but narrates specifics of it. Without losing sight of the uniqueness of the Assassins and particularities of Islamic society and religion giving rise to them, the author weaves the Assassin's history, their political ideology, and their determined, deadly tactics into the broader tapestry of the region's history from their origination to the height of their influence to their fading as a historical force.

Midwest Book Review.com
 James Waterson

About James Waterson

JAMES WATERSON is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and received his Master’s Degree from the University of Dundee. The author of a number of books, he travelled and worked in the Middle East, the United States and China for a number of years but now calls Tuscany home and Dubai ‘the office’. He lives with his wife Michele and a number of spoilt pets and he only ever leaves Italy when he is really, really short of money.

Video clip: Ancient Black Ops | Yesterday Channel


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