Crescent in the Sky by Donald Moffitt (the Mechanical Sky series, Book 1) was originally published in 1989. My paperback edition is 280 pages long. Crescent in the Sky begins with an interesting premise, the Islamic conquest of space. Since it was written in 1989, this science fiction novel is set in an interesting alternate history/what if... context. I recommend it. (Since this is book one of a two part series, you will want to have book two, A Gathering of Stars, available when you finish this first book.)
A junior cloning technician for the Royal Stables of the Emir of Mars becomes a pawn in an interstellar struggle between Islamic planets for the right to unite all the Muslim worlds under one great Caliph. Featuring an intriguing premise--the Islamic conquest of space--and an engagingly ingenuous hero, this sf adventure/intrigue belongs in most collections. Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Like it or not, he was an Anglo-Arab - forever to be known in the social scheme of things as an Arab al masta ariba, 'one who becomes an Arab.' "
"Strength, he had often had cause to notice, was not as important in the world as height; it was eye level that counted."
"The Nadha [Great Awakening] had been predicted for centuries. When it finally came it was because of a convergence of historical forces - four of them, principally... Demographics. Oil. Fervor. And the historical coincidence of a newly available frontier in space that was able to give shape to them."
"The second thing the oil-rich nations did was to buy into the West in a big way, to make their temporary affluence permanent. They worked to gain control of banking, real estate, basic industries, agriculture."