TALE OF THREE CITIES by Maryam Tabibzadeh


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A work of folklore traces the rise of an ancient prince.

Khosrow-Parviz, the son of the Sassanid Shah, is a prodigious talent with many skills both physical and mental. His youthful irresponsibility leads to his father punishing Parviz, causing him to lose his royal position. But the crown prince is visited in a dream by his grandfather, who shares with him a prophecy: “Since you ate sour grapes and did not turn sour, you will find a lover who is sweeter than any woman in the world....Since Shah gave your throne away, you will get the throne of the Persian kingdom.” Parviz soon learns that the first part of the prophecy is within his grasp: the lover is Shirin, the beautiful niece of the shah of Armenia. Parviz dispatches a servant to bring Shirin to the Persian capital, but a misunderstanding with his father causes the shah to seek Parviz’s arrest. The prince flees Persia even as the woman of his dreams travels there to meet him. As Parviz and Shirin crisscross the world, forever seeking each other, wars are fought and kingdoms rise and fall. But Parviz never forgets his destiny: to become a great emperor of the Sassanid Dynasty and to have the beautiful Shirin as his queen. Tabibzadeh (Danger of Love, 2014, etc.) tells the tale of Parviz and Shirin in a practiced, polished manner, capturing the poetry of the ancient story and its worldview: “That evening, when the night spread its hair, covering the world in darkness, Parviz went home and recited his prayers.” Because the tale is told in the style of folklore—and not as a novelization—the narration remains rather distant and detached from the events it describes, and the characters feel very much like archetypes instead of living, breathing individuals. For this reason, the text becomes somewhat monotonous after the first 50 pages. That said, fans of ancient epics and sagas should find much to enjoy in this account of Parviz and his adventures, not the least of which being the geopolitics of the Sassanid Empire of pre-Islamic Persia.

An absorbing tale of a Persian king and his Armenian love.

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
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