We hope you enjoy this book review by Cy Hilterman.

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When I started to read Dawn of Empire and saw that it occurred in 3158 BC, and the print was tiny, and the pages were many, I immediately thought that this was another one of those period books that would be boring, too long to get anything from, and would throw it aside after a few pages. This is everything but the actual feeling I obtained when I started reading. WOW! It turns out that this story is very much a part of early history in our world with many names and places added to enrich the story. In reality nothing needed to be added to enrich this story. Sam Barone has a real winner here and I truthfully look forward to read his follow-up book.

Dawn of Empire takes place in areas on and near the Tigress River. Thutmose-sin is a leader of barbarians that plunder the land near and far, attack villages and take all the goods, gold, and slaves they can and then kill the rest and burn those villages. The villages would eventually rebuild and the barbarians would appear again in several years and do the same thing over again to the same villages. They were just as the term describes them—barbarians! The villages they raided were composed of farmers—dirt eaters—they were referred to by the barbarians. These farmers knew nothing of fighting. They only wanted to grow crops and animals for consumption, not be fighters. This made them vulnerable to the barbarian’s brutal attacks.

Eskkar was a barbarian himself, whose family had been in Thutmose-sin’s clan, enters the village of Orak where farmers did their thing and knew not how to fight barbarians. The leader of Orak had taken off with a band of warriors to attack other villages and become their own barbarian group, abandoning Orak. Nicar has taken over the village and is thinking how he can save Orak in the future. Eskkar is still a barbarian at heart when he is asked by Nicar what could be done to save Orak. This started Eskkar’s mind in a different direction from any he had ever taken. Eskkar become one to HELP villagers save their village from the onslaught of the barbarians, becomes Captain of the Guard, and slowly puts his mind to work saving Orak.

In the process of trying to gain the villagers confidence, Eskkar does some things to make enemies among the tribe families that run the village. Nicar sees Eskkar’s dilemma and gives him a recently acquired slave, Trella, who Nicar feels is very smart and much advanced in her thinking, especially for a fourteen-year old girl. Eskkar takes the girl, lives with her, and finds out the broad knowledge she has. Trella gives Eskkar many ideas as to how to proceed with building the defenses of Orak and gaining the trust of the villagers. They eventually fall in love even though Trella is only a slave. All know she is far too wise in her words and actions and many start listening and following her advice.

Eskkar begins the long process of building a defense around the village and changing the surrounding areas into swamps that would make an attack almost impossible. Riders would come into the village and tell of the location of the band of barbarians and in what direction they were headed. Orak villagers were sure they would be attacked within months and worked extremely hard to build their defenses.

Dawn of Empire builds suspense fast as it goes through time with the villagers and the barbarians. When the first attack comes, the village was as prepared as possible to defend itself but would it be enough? The reader will have a hard time stopping to turn off that light at night while reading, but there is always the next day! You will enjoy this adventure that combines history with Sam Barone's characters in a very moving tale of long ago.



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