Wednesday, January 2, 2013

'Battle for Empire' by Sam Barone


I found out about Sam Barone in back in 2006 when I read ‘Dawn of Empire’.  Seven years later I’m still devouring his books like a supermodel who could give a sh*t!  Since I read this story on my iPad I had no idea how thick this book was but I knew that it had heft.  This is what I expect from Sam and what I appreciate from Sam.  I simply hate for his books to end.  Most people look at the little progress icon at the bottom of their eReader to see how far they have to go before the book is over. 

When I read Sam’s books I look at it and lament how much of the book has passed. 

‘Battle for Empire’ is the 5th book in the Eskkar saga and this one brings the series current.  This book opens with a prologue that throws in one hell of a shock.  To say that it will alter the course of this tale is a tragic understatement.  But that’s where the story starts… or rather… where it grabs you and holds you until you forsake everything else.

The city of Akkad is strong, rich, and protected.  They have fought wars and have come out on top; but not without sacrifice.  Blood has been spilt, women have been raped, torture has been meted out, and alliances have been forged.  Despite all that, Akkad is doing well and has unfortunately attracted the attention of another king looking for war, woman, and spoils.  Eskkar finds out about the threat (you’ll never guess from whom) and Trella, his extremely gorgeous and all seeing wife, make plans to deal with them.

HOW-ever… before that, they must deal with other issues and that is where the epicness (yes that is a word) of this story comes in.  Sargon, the son of Eskkar and Trella is a… let’s just be honest, he’s an ass.  A complete and total spoiled ass; which is weird because you wouldn’t expect Eskkar and Trella to produce such a tool.  Because of this Eskkar has little choice but to do what a father must.  So Sargon ventures out and like Eskkar, he must have the luck of the gods because his disrespectful tongue nearly gets cut out more than a few times.  He must learn some hard lessons in order to become a man.  But Sargon is bitter and very angry.  Will his feelings interfere with him learning the necessary skills to survive in a harsh and bloody world?  Maybe.  (Maybe not).

Whatever his problems may be, this world will not wait around for him to figure them out.  Like I mentioned earlier, there are men to kill, women to ravage, and children to be made slaves.  Teen angst can wait… there is still the threat of the invaders.  Can Eskkar’s warriors fight one battle while they plan for another?  Can the Ur Nammu forgive the Alur Meriki for decades of violence, theft, and murder?  Can the defeated and humiliated Alur Meriki partner with their conqueror Eskkar and the city of Akkad?  Will Sargon ever come around and become heir to the throne?  Personally I don’t know about that last one.  Sargon really grated my damn nerves!  

Sam creates for us a world that is bathed in violence and bloodlust but a world in which I wouldn’t mind living.  I can’t explain how that makes sense to me but it does.  In a brutal world there is still room for honor.  Loyalty is forged with blood and the loins of a good woman will make you forget it all.  

I really, really, really liked this book!  About two weeks ago I posted my blog for my ‘Top Books of 2012’.  I started this book never thinking that I would finish before the end of 2012.  I did.  And for the first time ever I will be adding a book AFTER I have posted my list.  Sam can write.  I enjoy author’s who keep me coming back to their books even though I may have other important things I need to be doing.  So Sam, I thank you and curse you in the same breath.  Bravo!

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