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Iron Dawn [Mass Market Paperback]

Matthew Wooding Stover
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Mass Market Paperback, 29 Oct 1998 --  

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 381 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (29 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451455894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451455895
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,617,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

In the aftermath of the Trojan War, Barra the Pict, an axe-wielding mercenary from the North, joins battle against an evil necromancer who threatens to unleash an army of the undead upon the busy port city of Tyre. Reprint.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book. 1 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Fast-paced, with hard action and a feel of reality to it, Iron Dawn drew my attention on the first page and held it in a steel grip for the rest of the book. I couldn't put it down! The descriptions are vivid, and set the imagination on fire. Barra, Leucas, and Kheperu are all very real people, with pasts and personalities as subtle and potent as they come. Great book if you like playing action sequences in your mind, and don't mind your books tinged with bone and blood. This is a must read!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, entertaining read 20 Jun 2001
By Daniel Swensen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Though I love fantasy, I tend to avoid reading a lot of fantasy novels, as too many of them turn out to be one in a series of twelve, or doorstop epics with exhaustive appendices and interminable plotlines. That sort of thing is all well and good when one is in the mood for it, but sometimes you just want a light, rollicking adventure, and Iron Dawn delivers that in spades.
Following the exploits of three mercenaries in the Phoenician city of Tyre, Iron Dawn moves along crisply with brisk battles, witty banter, a straightforward plot and a cast of likeable (and hateable) characters. It isn't particularly grand or epic, as fantasy novels go, but it tells a good story and tells it very well. I devoured this book in a few days and gave it a place of honor on my bookshelf. I've already ordered the sequel and am eagerly awaiting it.
Amazon has shown this volume as being out of print, which is a real shame -- I urge you to pick it up used or find it if you can. It's a great read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars funny and realistic 17 Oct 2000
By Morgan Hardy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The best thing about this book is how it combines "dark and grim" stuff with funny stuff. Life in the Bronze Age was hard and brutal, and Stover portrays it as such. However, Stover peppers the book with genuinely humorous dialogue and characters, which keeps the tone from being too dark. Kheperu the unapologetic pervert was my particular favorite. Cynical, lewd, and cowardly, Kheperu spouts some of the books funniest lines, and somehow ends up doing the right thing. Barra is a strong, solid heroine, and should appeal both to fans of Xena and fans of The Mists of Avalon. The only bad thing about this book was when Barra suddenly developed the "sight", which seemed hokey. Overall, though, a highly entertaining read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Iron Dawn": historical/ fantasy fiction ahead of its time 16 May 2013
By L. Tatum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Along with his Caine series, I highly recommend two earlier novels by Stover set in the ancient world ten years after the fall of Troy, "Iron Dawn" and "Jericho Moon." Either could be read as a stand-alone novel, but if you read one, you'll want to read both.

In "Iron Dawn" Stover manages to turn the gentler Marion Zimmerman Bradley "Mists of Avalon" paradigm on its head, giving us a story that's an original blend of historical fiction and fantasy. Its protagonist is a tough, resourceful Pictish warrior Barra and her two companions, an Athenian veteran of Troy, Leucas, and Kheperu, an exiled Egyptian ex-priest and con man. As a mercenary, Barra navigates the ancient world of Tyre and its neighboring lands with cunning and hard-worn battle experience. This novel is a far cry, though, from the "mercenary with a heart of gold" types that litter the fantasy market. Instead, Barra is complicated, thorny, at times vicious, loyal, and always a warrior first. If you're looking for a read with a sentimental edge since the protagonist is a woman, look elsewhere. This is a brutal, violent novel, because it realistically depicts a time when life generally was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Barra does manage to rise above Hobbes' doctrine of human existence from time to time, but it's a constant struggle for her and her companions to do so when most around them are more than happy with maintaining the status quo of 1200 B.C.

Besides his brilliant characterizations, Stover brings the ancient world to life in a rich way that few authors I've read have managed. Most depictions of the ancient world tend to be one-dimensional. If it's a novel of Ancient Egypt, well, Egypt is all you get. The same is true of Greece and even the Roman Empire. But Stover shows just how global and cosmopolitan the ancient Mediterranean world of roughly 3,200 years ago really was, a mix of peoples from as far away as the British Isles (like Barra) to continental Europe (Germanic and Iberian warriors and traders) to the Greek city-states to Troy (in what is today's Turkey) to Jerusalem & Jericho, to Egypt, to Persia and beyond. It's a fascinating, detailed and historically accurate world Stover creates, and that's just one major aspect that makes "Iron Dawn" such a great read.

How "Iron Dawn" and its follow up "Jericho Moon" were not instant successes, I'll never know, but I think that Stover in 1997 simply may have been way ahead of the "strong women in historical/ fantasy" curve so prevalent today. But unlike a lot of what's being publishing today in this genre, Stover's Barra novels are GREAT, and she's more than a worthy predecessor to Caine. I found both novels in an omnibus edition that was published in 1998, "Heart of Bronze."

Do yourself a big favor and order both books together, or order "Heart of Bronze" if you can find it. Then please join me on my campaign to convince Amazon to republish both novels as e-books.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book. 1 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Fast-paced, with hard action and a feel of reality to it, Iron Dawn drew my attention on the first page and held it in a steel grip for the rest of the book. I couldn't put it down! The descriptions are vivid, and set the imagination on fire. Barra, Leucas, and Kheperu are all very real people, with pasts and personalities as subtle and potent as they come. Great book if you like playing action sequences in your mind, and don't mind your books tinged with bone and blood. This is a must read!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down! 16 Jun 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Fast-paced action and wit. Great characters. Can't wait for the sequel to come out
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