Thamir Essayyad’s The Lost Dagger is a supernatural novel featuring an emergency room doctor protagonist and spanning the globe as he becomes embroiled in an epic battle to save humanity.
Dr. Kanan Angler is struggling with the pressures of the ER: treating victims of gun violence and patients who constantly lie to him about their true symptoms to get drugs. “Trust No One” is his mantra. Then he can’t even trust his own mind; as apparitions begin to appear in the ER and voices follow him home, he feels that he’s going mad.
Seeking peace of mind, Kanan travels to Spain, where he sees the apparition of a man dressed in early 7th century clothing, and then onto the Middle East, where he meets Sufi mystics. Soon, the doctor discovers he’s been dropped into an ancient supernatural battle. He learns to manifest his ancestors to help fight an epic clash between good and evil. Central to the conflict is a holy dagger that bestows the power to win any battle on the person who wields it.
Essayyad’s plot begins with a solid pace but slows when he delivers detailed background about this supernatural world. Momentum returns when violence erupts during a cat-and-mouse-like chase between the combatants.
The story weaves fascinating historical fables throughout. Unfortunately, the narrative can be jarring, abruptly shifting from scenes deeply steeped in magical realism to the present day without strong connective tissue. The love story that develops between Kanan and another character is stereotypical and unessential to the plot. Additionally, the text could use editing for style and flow; too many sentences start with personal pronouns and “the,” creating a staccato effect.
Still, the relationships Essayyad develops between his characters is intriguing, and the ancient spiritual mystique the author creates should draw in readers who enjoy this genre of thrillers.
Also available as an ebook.