Jerusalem Fire (1985)

Backcover Synopsis: To most of the galaxy he was a legend without a face, and to the rest a face without a name. He was Alihahd: the word meant simply ‘He left’. And so he always had. Until his luck ran out. And with it the stability, the very existence, of the Na’id Empire which had ruled the known worlds since the onset of the human Dark Age. For it was on the semi-mythical planet of Iry that Alihahd at last found his destiny.

Iry, the world of the Irin warrior-priests, of witches and warlocks attended by familiars in wondrous shapes. Iry, where ‘men’ flew on wings with the eagles, and journeyed through the stars on enigmatic quests, armed only with their magical double-curved swords, and the strange powers they nurtured with such dedication. Iry, a culture awaiting a catalyst: Alihahd. It needed only his presence to cause a jihad to boil out across the universe.

If you think that the Alihahd will create something of a resistance to fight the Na’id, you’re quite wrong. The book describes how he sulks around the whole time, that he doesn’t want to fight the Na’id, that he doesn’t want to be a figurehead or do anything useful, he just want to be left alone. Some other things happen, we experience through flashbacks what has happened when the Na’id overun Jerusalem and why the Alihahd fled from the Na’id empire. There’s another character who has also some issues with the Na’id and has lived nearly his whole life with the Irin. The end of the book is quite strange, the conflict with the Na’id isn’t really resolved, it’s as if the books just runs out of steam and ends. A book with a plot that went nowhere, was tedious to read and all characters were annoying.