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With Rubicon and Persian Fire, Tom Holland established himself as one of our finest historians of the great empires of antiquity. In the Shadow of the Sword tells the story of how the ancient world came to an end and how a new power, Islam, arose.
In the 6th century AD, the Near East was divided between two great empires – Persian and Roman. A hundred years on, one had vanished forever, while the other was a dismembered bleeding trunk. A new superpower arose in their place – the empire of the Arabs. This upheaval was so profound that it spelt the end of antiquity.
But the changes were more than geo-political – religion and societies were transformed forever, creating a world today still shaped by this great convulsive age. In the Shadow of the Sword sheds light not on the dark ages of the past, but illuminates instead how the strifes and divisions of religious and geographical disputes today are not new, but a legacy of this great conflict.