The leader of a band of marauding barbarians, Thutmose --- sin is a warrior gifted by the gods with extraordinary perception and cunning. To survive, he and his people plunder and pillage, killing and enslaving the dirt --- eaters who dwell in villages across the plains. But Thutmose --- sin also secretly fears these enemies, for they possess a weapon far deadlier than any bow or lance: the food they coax from the ground that allows them to multiply. Someday, he worries, there might be so many of them that even his warriors will not be able to kill them all. And in a prosperous settlement near the headwaters of the Tigris, his suspicions are about to come true....
Determined to preserve their way of life, the peaceful people of Orak refuse to flee the oncoming barbarians. Instead, they devise a bold, untested plan of defense: build a wall around the village high and strong enough to repel the invaders. Under the guidance of an outcast barbarian named Eskkar and his true love, an enchanting and wise slave girl named Trella, the villagers begin the wall's construction and await the epic battle that will pit them against the unstoppable barbarians --- a battle whose outcome will change the world forever.
An enthralling historical novel of war, passionate love, courage, and savagery, Dawn of Empire tells in sweeping prose and with heroic, unforgettable characters the story of an ancient people's triumph --- an amazing feat that marked the building of the first walled city and the beginning of an era that gave rise to some of history's greatest civilizations.
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1 . Educating!
Posted April 19, 2010 by C.H. , Akron, OHInteresting read concerning the friction between agrarian society and nomadic tribes. Describes the rise of walled cities and its effect on surrounding peoples.
August 29, 2006
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Excerpt from Dawn of Empire by Sam Barone
The eastern bank of the river Tigris, two hundred miles north of the great sea...
Awake, Eskkar, awake now! Nicar sent for you. You must come at once!" Eskkar realized the words had been spoken several times, accompanied by vigorous shaking. Now they ceased being mere sounds and became instead a message, one that slowly found its way through the haze that still clutched at his mind and body from last night's drinking.
"Enough," Eskkar grunted, swinging an arm clumsily at the messenger. But the nimble youth dodged easily. Eskkar pushed himself up to a sitting position on his hard pallet, while the room revolved around him and the blood pounded in his head from the sudden motion. His throat felt dry, like the gritty dirt floor beneath his naked feet, and his skull seemed ready to split apart at any moment as he paid the price for last night's vinegary wine.
"Water," he growled. After a few moments, the messenger placed a wooden cup in Eskkar's shaking hands. He swallowed a few mouthfuls, though much of the liquid dribbled down his chin onto his bare chest. His eyes refused to focus, and the bright sunlight that streamed through the open doorway into the shadowy soldiers' quarters added to his misery.
As soon as Eskkar lowered the cup, the boy started again. "Hurry, Eskkar. Nicar awaits you now! You must come at once."
What in the name of the gods could Nicar want from him? But Nicar's name and position as the ruler of the village of Orak started him moving, stumbling first to the rank chamber pot inside the soldiers' common room, then back to his pallet to don his tunic.
Leaving the barracks, his eyes half-shut against the sun, Eskkar managed to find his way to the well. He leaned against the rough stones for a moment, then upended the bucket to splash water on his face before drinking.
Somewhat refreshed, Eskkar looked up, surprised to see the sun so high. Demons below, he must have drunk a whole skinful of that bitter date wine. He cursed himself for being a fool.
When Eskkar turned away he saw a handful of guards, men who should have been busy at their daily tasks, standing uneasily near him. "Where is Ariamus?" he asked no one in particular, his voice sounding hoarse in his ears. Ariamus, captain of the guard, maintained the few laws of Orak and defended the village from bandits and marauders.
"Ariamus is gone," a gray-bearded veteran answered, spitting in the dirt to show his disgust. "He's run off, taken a dozen men with him, as well as extra horses and arms. The talk in the market says that barbarians are heading south, coming toward Orak."