on 29 December 2013
WARHORN (Sons of Iberia)The story drew me in and kept me spellbound till the very end. The pace picks up fast and barrels along. Emotions envelop and action is vividly depicted in great choice of words and metaphor. One is totally absorbed in the history and culture of long ago Spain in a tantalizing tale with fascinating fictional characters. History, ecology and story woven together wonderfully and with author's notes and maps makes for excellence. I look forward to the next saga of Caros and his inimitable companions!
on 7 December 2013
Enjoyed this book immensely. I like a book that has strong characters in it, ones who you really get to love and hate along the way. Caros the young trader who knows nothing about how to become a warrior, his heart set on revenge. He learns through the other wise warriors and facinating tribes what it takes to become the hero warrior everyone sees in him especially Hannibal Barca. Loved the banter between Neugan the tracker and Caros. Fantastic fight scenes, you can actually picture yourself on the various battlegrounds, the tension unreal, the men and horses anxiety, the smells, sweat,rage and thirst for blood. If you like action, adventure, love, history, then this is the book to read. Well done to the author, can't wait for the next book.
on 25 February 2014
I love learning something new in a novel and since I know very little about this period in history - 220 B.C. - it was definitely challenging to keep up with the many factions involved in the struggle for supremacy across the Iberian plain, a domination which aims to leave the area in settled peace and harmony. I desperately wanted to leave off the novel reading to begin some research of the era, but that was tempered with the urgent need to carry on with the story of Caros and find out how J. G. Bauer would develop the character of the young man who vows to avenge the brutal killing of his entire family.
The times are very bloody indeed; the description of the fighting and battle strategies are explained in great detail - the gore and devastation to man, woman, child and beast leaping off many of the pages in graphic horror. Caros transitions from being a young trader to a battle-hardened warrior who uses his deadly falcata with unerring accuracy, his combatant skills coming so naturally to him at a very swift pace. However, I like that J.G. Bauer ensures that Caros does not magically escape all injury- for me that would have been farcical in such violent and turbulent times. Battle scars gained toughen up the warrior even more even though he must live through some heartbreaking consequences.
His rapid progress to being noticed by the upper echelons of the armies didn’t disappoint me, and that the young Hannibal singles him out seems fitting. Caros becomes the kind of unassuming hero who draws friends and admirers easily from his fellow comrades and also from his enemies. Named ‘Claw of the Lion’ early on in the novel is well earned by the time the story closes.
It is not only a story of war, though, the love of a young woman –Ilimic- is also a painful transition time for Caros to work through. There are many characters in the novel, some of whom are very likeable – like Neugen who becomes a real and trusted friend very quickly. Other characters are much less attractive but well portrayed.
My only problem with the read was that the editing could have been sharper: this would have avoided occasional spelling and what I would term points of view problems.
Summing up though, If you want a detailed historical novel of trememdously exciting battle frenzy at a time that isn’t too commonly written about, then I definitely recommend Warhorn.
on 23 February 2014
WARHORN is set in the era of Hannibal’s quest to crush the supremacy of the Roman Empire 221 BC, and the horror of the Iberian Peninsular torn asunder by warring factions is shockingly realistic within this novel.
As pro-Roman factions’ raid, pillage and terrorise tribal peoples’ who merely wish to live peacefully under Hannibal’s guardianship, the stench of death lingers on the ether. Left bereft in the face of wicked slaughter of men, women and children, the young hero Caros, vows to avenge the loss of his entire household. Although Caros is but a young man of headstrong intent, there is much he must learn of warfare from experienced and hardened warriors. To his credit he learns fast the ways of tracking enemy forces, but evading them is not always possible and hard lessons are learned along life’s path. Thankfully, not everything in a warrior’s life is all battle and no play, and love traps him in its passionate embrace. But Caros’ dreams are soon shattered by turn of events, and when the WARHORN finally blasts forth, Caros and his mentors rally to the war cry. In the meanwhile, Fate the unseeing force plays cruel tricks on Caros. So too it reignites heartfelt longing only to once again crush the warrior from within.
WARHORN is more than just a story of warriors, battle cries and storming the ramparts of a besieged city. Caros’ story tugs at a reader’s heartstrings in the closing stages, and I admire the author for breaking with convention and venturing to a heart-rending ending. Well, it was for moi, though Caros it would seem is set to ride forth within a second book.
on 19 February 2014
I must admit I wasn't entirely hooked for the first few chapters, but once Caros was properly astride his roan mare, deadly falcata in hand, I was dragged along on a fast-paced adventure through ancient Spain, just at the time when Hannibal (of elephant fame) decided to once and for all throw the gauntlet in the Roman's face - in this case by setting out to conquer pro-Roman Sagunt, an isolated bastion of Roman loyalties in the Carthage controlled Iberia.
Caros is not a warrior, he's a merchant who is forced to take up arms in the aftermath of his family's death. Being young and resilient - and naturally gifted when it comes to strategical thinking and fighting - he quickly masters the skills of a fighting man, but when he meets pretty Ilimic, Caros decides to marry her, leave warfare behind and revert to his family's trading roots. Not to be, but more will not be said so as not to spoil the story.
What I really liked about this book was the fresh dialogue. Yes, it is at times too modern - never too modern - and the purists among us might not think it feasible that an ancient Iberian says "shit" (Of course they did - or something similar) but it creates pace and a sense of immediacy that I very much enjoyed.
What I found somewhat less appealing was the lack of female characters - beyond Ilimic, who is essentially pretty and mild. Having said that, Warhorn is a war story, so maybe the absence of female characters is natural, but even so i'd have liked at least one strong and intriguing woman, if nothing else as a counterpoint to all the men. At times, the long battle-sequences could have done with some abbreviation, which would also have helped the reader in grasping the salient facts.
For those wanting a fast-paced historical novel set in a time and place we rarely get to read about, Warhorn is warmly recommended.
on 24 December 2013
Gripping from start to finish with some entertaining characters
A good story line well with a read hopefully more to come
on 7 January 2014
Some of the proof reading needed improving and how many times can you use the word 'yup'.
Still that is a only the smallest of criticisms overall a great read well researched certainly a page turner will look forward to Caro's return in 2014.
on 24 February 2014
Bauer metaphorically sets the native lynx of ancient Iberia against the organized team-work of the wolf pack, and in doing so brings a time long gone to life. It is a harsh world; there are many battles and corpses. Nevertheless, there is also beauty in the landscape, and the author gives us a tender, albeit tragic account of filial and romantic love. Although the novel transports us to another time, the main characters are given very modern idiomatic speech and notions, which may grate with some. A few concepts feel anachronistic, but the narrative is given an immediacy and contemporary relevance this way. A book for those who enjoy war stories, and a good alternative to Ancient Rome on the march. The main character, Caros, is in many repects the Everyman of all adventures, where the hero battles injustice and the reader hopes and fears for him. This hero is very real, and also very likeable.
on 1 April 2014
Caros' life is ripped apart when his family are brutally murdered in an act of war. In the aftermath his lot falls in with warriors but from free will that he stays. The need to redeem his father's warhorn drives him on to punish the enemy and in the process he discovers a cunning for strategy and battle. His days of being a merchant lie behind him as he picks the path of war and his lot falls in with Hannibal (of elephant reknown.)
The battle scenes were brutal and bloody, and I admit to feeling a little queasy on one occasion. Warhorn is well written and the writing does evoke a reaction. I especially liked how the author described simple things such as Caros washing after a battle and scrubbing the blood and gore away.
A touch violent for a 5 star but a well deserved 4.
on 9 January 2014
Quite an usual aspect of ancient history and the incessant tribal warfare and empire building. An excellent introduction to an Iberian warrior, albeit reluctant at first, and I am looking forward to the next episode. Thoroughly recommended read.