OK, I’ll admit that this was another one of those books that I immediately bought within five minutes of getting an eMail from the author telling me about it. I’ve been a huge fan of Sam Barone ever since ‘Dawn of Empire’. ‘Dawn’ was published in 2006 and here I am six years later still excited to be reading about this series. That says a lot. ‘Eskkar & Trella’ is the fourth book of the series but it’s also a prequel to the other three. I was eager to read about Eskkar because I remembered how brutal and burly he was. This was a (very) rough time in history and nowhere has the phrase “only the strong survive” meant more. You either fought and fought well, or you take early leave of your life.
If you were a woman… well, if you were a woman you had little choice than being property. Your only hope was to find a man/husband who would only beat you once a day and take his unnatural pleasures with a young slave. Food was scarce, Villages were small, bandits were the ancient outlaws, and blood flowed faster than the Tigris. In ‘Eskkar & Trella’ we see how Eskkar becomes an outcast and the events that he endured that helped (or hindered) him in becoming a man. It’s up to you if you want to read this series in chronological order or published order. Personally I think you should read them in published order because there are certain nuisances and certain growth you see in the author and their stories when they write “out of order”.
Anyway… in this brutal world Eskkar must learn to use his brawn as well as his wits to survive. “Trust no one” isn’t just a popular modern saying, it’s a lesson you learn fast if you want survive. In this life adventure Eskkar meets thieving villagers, sharp swords, loose women, hunger, thirst, betrayal, blood, the unforgiving earth, and plenty of ale.
This book starts with a young Eskkar and the telling of life around his village. Something happens to his father that causes him to become an outcast. Easily one of the worst things that can happen to anyone, but to a young man it’s an almost sure death sentence. But Eskkar isn’t your normal man. He must fight and kill for the smallest scrap of bread and every day is a gift. Every village has an “Elder” or a group of “Elders” to rule. With no one really in charge justice is fleeting and found only on the edge of a sword, the end of a fist, or underneath a loincloth. Eskkar’s existence is brutal and reading about him has been a true thrill for the past six years. I see that the next book comes out this summer… glad to see my obsession can continue.