Review: Hasan-i-Sabah by James Wasserman

As a companion to Wasserman’s The Templars and the Assassins, Hasan-i-Sabah: Assassin Master seeks to reveal the man behind the myth of one of the most influential and mysterious sects in the secret history of the world. Following up the brilliant work found in the preceding volume, Hasan-i-Sabah does not disappoint.

While the mysteries of the Assassins have long been thought to be lost, thanks in large part to the Mongol invasions, Wasserman has combed through what remains and painted for us a picture in which Hasan-i-Sabah played a crucial role in the development of European culture due to his influence over the Knights Templar.

Now, there lies some heady stuff, and the reader is asked to make some leaps of faith, but none too egregious. Wasserman backs up his conjecture with solid reasoning, and with compelling research and intuitive deductions, the evidence is overwhelming and voluminous.

The unfolding history is like a wave of misplaced knowledge finding its proper course, but more importantly, the author is able to illustrate the man himself, bringing Hasan-i-Sabah to life in a way in which the mythological figure has never been revealed before.

As always, Ibis has done a wonderful job with the physical product, with perfect binding and interior graphic design. The only souring point is the cover art itself, which I find out of character for a book from such a prestigious house. The resolution seems poor, and the contrast is flat. It just doesn’t pop, and that’s a shame. The dust jacket distracts from an otherwise masterful edition.

I came to this book with some foreknowledge, having been near obsessed by the Knights Templar since grade school. I leave it with a far deeper understanding and a sense of satisfaction that so many pieces of the puzzle have been assembled without weakening the deeper and more personal mysteries that exist.

This is an important work, and if you have the slightest interest in the history of the Middle East and of Europe, then this book is one that you should spend some considerable time with.

Hasan-i-Sabah: Assassin Master by James Wasserman is available wherever books are sold, and I encourage you to make it a part of your collection.

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