Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Empire Rising by Sam Barone

I must admit to being initially disappointed by this novel. It purports to be historical fiction set at the dawn of civilisation, a period of history about which I know very little but would like to learn more. Unfortunately the only history in this novel is a few names of people and places borrowed from the real history of the Akkadian empire. Everything else is pure Hollywood style fiction. A Connecticut Yankee at the birth of civilisation if you like. Apart from a few gratuitous sex scenes neither Gary Cooper nor Jimmy Stewart would be out of place in this novel.

However ...

Once you get over the lack of any real history the book turns out to be an entertaining read with plenty of action and intrigue and a few big battles thrown in for good measure. I think I will put Barone on my B-list of heroic fantasy. This novel never comes close to the brilliance of David Gemmell but there is enough in it to justify picking up the other books in the series. I should point out that I inadvertently skipped the first book of Barone's Akkadian series: Dawn of Empire but this second book reads just fine as a stand alone novel. .

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