The Ismaili Assassins.
The Ismaili Assassins
c/o Pen & Sword Books
9781526760821, $29.95, PB, 256pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: 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 a grand master who used assassination as part of a grand strategic vision that embraced Egypt, the Levant and Persia and even reached the court of the Mongol Khans in far away Qaraqorum.
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 dishonor and mothers rejoiced when they heard that their Assassin sons had died having completed their deadly acts. 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.
Enhanced with eyewitness accounts from Islamic and Western sources, "The Ismaili Assassins: A History of Medieval Murder" by author and historian James Waterson explores the origins, actions and legacy of this notorious sect.
Critique: An inherently fascinating, deftly written, and impressively informative read from beginning to end, "The Ismaili Assassins: A History of Medieval Murder" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Medieval History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "The Ismaili Assassins" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.61).