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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Empire Rising by Sam Barone

Empire Rising by Sam Barone. New York: William Morrow, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-06-089246-3

This is the sequel to Dawn of Empire, which I reviewed back in April of 2007. It's a good read, and if you enjoyed Dawn, you'll probably want to read Rising. But it doesn't have the same compelling drive to it that the original did.

In Dawn of Empire, we read about one of the first cities to raise a wall in its defense. This is a civilization-building effort that truly revolutionized society when it occurred, and to encounter a fictionalized account of how that might have occurred makes for truly compelling reading.

In the sequel, there is lots of backing and filling. The city and its leaders are out restoring order in the surrounding area, making their defenses even stronger, and beginning the building of a dynasty which they hope will extend to their children and grandchildren. All very important activities, no doubt, but just not as compelling as the motive behind the original story. It becomes just another story of ancient people going about their lives.

Sure, the author dreams up another attack on the city, this one launched by stealth from inside, and provides plenty of drama and suspense, but this story could have happened to any ancient town in any ancient time period, and there is nothing to raise it to that level of necessity that propelled its predecessor.

So, definitely recommended, especially if you enjoyed Dawn of Empire, but not essential reading, by any means. And don't read it if you haven't read Dawn. It won't make much sense. The author's web site implies, without providing any specifics, that there will be more to come, and I'll probably read those too, just not expecting the same kind of buzz I got from the first one.

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