A Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller
"A compelling detective story of the highest order... a dazzlingly colourful journey into the world of late antiquity... a profoundly important book." —Sunday Times
"A stunning blockbuster." —Independent
"Holland delivers a brilliant tour de force of revisionist scholarship and thrilling storytelling with a bloodspattered cast of swashbuckling tyrants, nymphomaniacal empresses and visionary prophets... Unputdownable." —The Times
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.