Dawn of Empire

Written by Sam Barone
Review by Sara Wilson

On the eastern bank of the Tigris five thousand years ago, Orak grew into a rich and powerful village, settled by merchants, traders and farmers. These “dirt-diggers,” despised by the nomad barbarian clans, were the target of many ferocious, murderous attacks. But this time the people of Orak decide to fight back. Under the guidance of a lowly soldier, Eskkar, and his woman, Trella, the citizens decide to build a defensive wall against the attackers and train its menfolk as soldiers and archers. It’s a bold plan with no guarantee of success, but the dirt-diggers will not be running away this time.

For Eskkar the task is a more personal one. If he succeeds he will not only win power and influence over Orak, but he’ll also be avenging the death of his family at the hands of the barbarians. For one lacking in knowledge and diplomacy, it proves an awesome task, and without the wise guidance of Trella, it would have been an impossible one. The pair fall in love against a backdrop of terror, brutality and betrayal. If they can survive the odds stacking up against them, their future might just be assured.

Dawn of Empire is a rattling good adventure story, full of blood, slaughter and sex. With the barbarian hordes at the gates, the tension virtually hums through the pages, and the battle scenes, when they come, are as powerful and brutal as expected. A swift pace and heaps of colourful action turn this into a page-turner of the first quality. This great debut novel is bound to win Sam Barone a large following.