Dawn of Empire. The first novel in the Eskkar Saga, this book describes the struggle to build mankind's
first walled city, and the fight to defend it. Action packed, the love story of Eskkar
and the slave girl Trella is set against the background of a barbarian invasion.
Former software designer Barone sets his entertaining debut novel in Mesopotamia at the dawn of civilization. The nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, who in 2500 B.C.E. still dominate the fertile valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, are agitated at encroaching gentrification. Barbarian chieftain Thutmose-sin announces that Orak, the agricultural "great village" of 2,000 people nestled along the banks of the Tigris, "defies our way of life" and must be destroyed. Instead of fleeing the fearsome barbarian warriors who have never been defeated by "dirt eaters," the citizens of Orak stay and fight. They're led by a former barbarian, Eskkar, and his young slave mistress, Trella, who is wise beyond her years and station. The apocalyptic battle that ensues will determine which culture—that of the nomad or the villager—will prevail. Barone's characters are engaging enough, if not fully realized, and the action is fast-paced, if sometimes predictable. The combat scenes, gritty and bloody, are especially vivid. Equal parts history lesson, love story and war saga, Barone's first historical will have readers turning pages.
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