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In the Dragon's Claws: The Story of Rostam & Esfandiyar from the Persian Book of Kings [Paperback]


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Book Description

Jan. 28 2005 0934211566 978-0934211567
The story of Rostam and Esfandiyar is one of the most moving tragedies in Ferdowsi's epic Shahnameh. In this story, Esfandiyar, the designated heir to the throne of Iran, has just returned in triumph from his campaign against the shah of Turan. He has slain Arjasp, Iran's greatest enemy, captured his family and treasury, and liberated his own sisters from their captivity. He expects that his father, Goshtasp, will now abdicate the throne of Iran in his favor as he had sworn to. Goshtasp, however, is not yet ready to honor his promise. Instead he sets his son yet another task as a condition of his abdication. He must bring Iran's greatest hero, Rostam, back to the court in chains. Rostam has neither come to the court of Iran to honor Goshtasp, nor has he sent him a letter declaring his loyalty. Esfandiyar recognizes this is simply a means to put his own life at risk, and says as much. Yet he cannot refuse his father's command.

This tale displays a surprisingly modern skepticism about the values we associate with the Shahnameh. It expresses a profound ambivalence about the demands of heroism, and is sharply critical of a monarch who exploits the courage and loyalty of his heroes to further his own selfish ends.

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From Kirkus Reviews

In The Dragon's Claws ($17.95 paperback original; Nov.; 144 pp.; 0-934211-56-6). A tale from the 11th-century epic the Shahnameh (or Book of Kings) comes to vivid life in Clinton's attractive blank verse translation. It's the story of brave young Prince Esfandiyar's battle with his country's aging soldier hero Rostam (whom English-language readers may have encountered in Matthew Arnold's narrative poem ``Sohrab and Rustum''): a task ordered by Shah Goshtasp, who fears either his son or his enemies may dethrone him. The tale exudes as much ironic fatalism as romance, and comes to a powerful conclusion with the stated realization that the defeat and humiliation of a national hero is a sin that must be expiated. A fine and moving introduction to one of world literature's least-known masterpieces. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


"Jerome Clinton with his lively and supple blank verse line continues to lift Ferdowsi out of the 10th and 11th centuries and beautifully into the present." -- Coleman Barks, author of The Essential Rumi

"The story of Rostam and Esfandiyar tells a tale as old as Iran, of heroic action, ambition, pride, and the impossibility of breaking free from the wheeling spheres of Destiny.... Clinton's translation of a difficult text is skillful, elegant, sensitive and exciting, and maintains the tension up to its unavoidable climax. It is quickly evident that we are in the presence of a great work of literature, admirably recreated for the modern English-speaking reader." -- Charles Melville, Cambridge University

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic June 2 2014
By N. O. - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There's not much I can say about In the Dragon's Claws. It is an Iranian classic and one of the best novels out there. It's a great story that I would recommend to everyone.
3.0 out of 5 stars horrible formatting! Sept. 2 2011
By KKPwnall - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
i had to read this book for a persian literature class this semester, and while i fell in love with the writing style and the subject matter, the kindle formatting for this book is terrible! it's all broken up into sections of just a few lines, some with gigantic font, some with microscopic font. and i couldn't figure out a way to make it all universally one size font. there was also no way to search in the text, i was only given the option to zoom when i scrolled over it. and the footnotes were at the very end of the book, past the point when they would have been useful.

a great read, but the formatting is just awful. i expected better!

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