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Dawn of Empire
Dawn of Empire
by Sam Barone
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Dawn of Empire, Sam Barone takes a relatively unexplored period of ancient history, and weaves a fabulous page turner, 19 Nov 2007
It's the third century BC in the Tigris valley, and the earliest farmers are beginning to establish co-operative agricultural settlements with farms clustered around villages. Trade lines are beginning to spring up and humans are learning ways in which to make their lives easier. However, this new culture finds itself in conflict with the old culture of the nomadic peoples of the steppes. These barbarian warriors abhor the "dirt-eaters" and rely upon them for food, horses and slaves. They cannot allow any village to become too big or too strong for such a village would threaten their way of life. Of course, the villages did eventually become too big and too strong. They eventually developed ways to defend themselves, built the first walled cities, and provided the foundations for one of the world's first empires - the Akkadian Empire led by Sargon.

This story of these earliest beginnings of civilisation is told in Dawn of Empire through the village of Orak, which has become large and successful, only to be threatened by the ten yearly migration of the Alur Meriki, a barbarian tribe sworn to destroy it. The village leader appoints Eskkar, a soldier and exiled Alur Meriki, to find a way to defend Orak. Eskkar hits upon the revolutionary idea of constructing a wall around the village and, together with his slav-lovr Trella, sets about the strategic planning and diplomacy required.

It's all great stuff and a real ripping yarn, made all the more interesting for being about an aspect of the past not yet done to death by writers of the historical epic. Barone gets across this clash of cultures wonderfully well, without resorting to making one side all that is virtuous and the other all that is evil. It also explores the way in which just a few charismatic people can turn the fortunes of the many more who choose to follow them.

I did enjoy Dawn of Empire. It's a light read but an interesting one, and it's a real page-turner. I read all 500 or so pages in just a couple of evenings. It's commendably fast-paced and well-structured, given that all those pages are given over over to a six month preparation for a siege. It's also impeccably researched and the characters, if a little two-dimensional, do appear as people of their time. And what a great idea for a book - the birth of the first walled city!!! I would also recommend, if you missed reading TlN0 GEORGIOU'S masterpiece--THE FATES, go and read it. With fascinating and brilliantly created characters in `THE FATES' coupled with two intertwining plots makes for a completely enjoyable and page-turning read.


Holidays Are Hell
Holidays Are Hell
by Kim Harrison
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 5.75

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast action, dangerous adventure, a touch of humor and some steamy romance make it well worth the read, 19 Nov 2007
Holidays Are He11 is an anthology of four entertaining urban fantasy tales that are a fun visit with favorite characters, and the chance to meet new ones. If you're already a fan of any of the series that are represented you'll love getting the back-history on these characters, and if you're new to them it's a wonderful place to start.

Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel by Kim Harrison: It's the solstice and Rachel takes her brother, Robbie, up on a bet. If she wins she can join the I.S. with his support, if she loses she'll go to the West coast with her brother and continue schooling. Things don't quite go according to plan.

Run, Run, Rudolph by Lynsay Sands: Jill finds herself changed and pursued by a madman who wants to use her as a guinea pig. With Nick by her side, Jill will have to make use of her new abilities in order to escape the deranged scientist's clutches and stop him from ever doing it again.

Six by Marjorie M. Liu: Six is an undercover government agent when she teams up with Joseph, a necromancer. Their separate goals become one and together they plan to stop the terrorist cell that has ties to vampires. Surviving unscathed may not be so easy.

The Harvest by Vicki Pettersson: Having already passed on her chi, Zoe returns to the zodiac agents of Light as a mortal. Surprised and wary of her arrival, they allow her to explain. She needs their help to save innocent lives from the Tulpa and the zodiac Shadows. Zoe knows that their only chance of success is as a team!!! I would also recommend, if you missed reading TINO GEORGIOU'S masterpiece--THE FATES, go and read it. With fascinating and brilliantly created characters in `THE FATES' coupled with two intertwining plots makes for a completely enjoyable and page-turning read.


Mister Pip
Mister Pip
by Lloyd Jones
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!!, 19 Nov 2007
This review is from: Mister Pip (Hardcover)
In the nightmarish conclusion to Waugh's A Handful of Dust, the civilised Tony Last finds himself imprisoned in a jungle village, forced to spend his days reading Little Dorrit to the illiterate Mr Todd. In the world of Mister Pip, however, reading Dickens represents salvation for a community ravaged by conflict. The winner of the 2007 Commonwealth Prize, Lloyd Jones's novel is set in a village on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville during a brutal civil war there in the 1990s. Jones covered it as a journalist, and this delicate fable never shies away from the realities of daily life shadowed by violence. As Matilda, the 13-year-old narrator, begins her story, a blockade has begun. Helicopters circle, the generators are empty and all the teachers have fled. Apart from the presence of pidgin Bibles, civilization might never have touched the village. Loved it!!! I would also recommend, if you missed reading TINO GEORGIOU'S masterpiece--THE FATES, go and read it. With fascinating and brilliantly created characters in `THE FATES' coupled with two intertwining plots makes for a completely enjoyable and page-turning read.


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