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Strategos: Born In The Borderlands - Gordon Doherty

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The Czar
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Strategos: Born In The Borderlands - Gordon Doherty

Post by The Czar » Wed March 7th, 2012, 5:07 pm

Strategos: Born in the Borderlands, is the story of Apion, a young boy growing up on the ever more volatile frontier between the crumbling Byzantine and rising Seljuk empires.

I picked this up because I love HF set in the Byzantine Empire. About halfway through the novel, I was beginning to groan. There were so many elements of "military adventure" HF that are fast becoming cliche, that I figured I was headed to a pretty predictable conclusion. I mean...

Boy taken in and fostered as a child? Check.
Prophecy about the boy, about which he is unaware? Check.
He meets a girl, eventually, they fall in love? Check.
He learns how to swordfight from a master (but he doesn't know that)? Check.
A training "montage" where our hero quickly morphs into a baddie? Check.
A burning desire for revenge? Check.

So I just assumed that we were gonna glide right down the road to a conclusion where our hero fulfills the prophecy, takes his revenge, saves the Empire, gets the girl, and we all live happily ever after. Yawn. Not bad, and well written, but not anything worth getting excited about.

Well that's not what happened. I don't want to be a spoiler, but the last half of the novel moves very fast and has several unexpected twists, leaving you wanting the sequel.

The characters are all very realistic, the good guys are sympathetic, and the villain, while utterly evil, is believable, not cartoonish. To the best of my knowledge (and I don't claim to be a Byzantine expert) the history is well researched and well presented. The battle scenes are very well, if graphically, described.

All in all, I recommend this book to those who like fast paced military adventure HF. I will definitely read the sequel.

Oh, be aware that there is a glossary at the end to help you with the profusion of greek words (I didn't figure that out till I finished).
Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.
_______________________________________________
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

annis
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Post by annis » Thu March 8th, 2012, 1:53 am

Thanks, Czar- I have this on my Kindle waiting till I get a chance- first have to wind up Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games and then Alice Hoffman's Dovekeepers as recommended by Ben (Parthianbow). Darn it, will people please stop recommending books for a minute so I can catch up :)

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Gordopolis
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Post by Gordopolis » Thu June 13th, 2013, 12:25 pm

Hi Czar,

Just a quick shout to say that the sequel 'Strategos: Rise of the Golden Heart' was launched today!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Strategos-Rise- ... B00DCN4PTO

Cheers,
Gordon

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