In "Lion's Blood" (Warner, $24.95) science fiction writer Steven Barnes imagines a world in which everything we know about the history of America is turned on its head. In ancient times, Barnes writes, the Greek philosopher Socrates flees Athens for Egypt, setting in motion a chain of events that leads to Carthage defeating Rome and Africans dominating the Mediterranean world rather than Europeans.
A millennium later, Bilal, an apostle to the prophet Muhammad, receives a vision that Islam's destiny is to cross the ocean and colonize the New World. Thus Barnes' vision is born. North America is colonized by Black Africans, who build an empire on the backs of Irish, Frankish and Gaulish slaves.
The novel follows the life of Aidan, a primitive Irishman stolen from his village as a child and transported to the New World land of Bilalistan, where he lives as a slave. He befriends the son of his master, grows to adulthood and soon finds himself in the midst of a war between Aztecs, Zulus, Arabs and Whites that sweeps the New World and changes its destiny forever.