Title – Strategos: Rise of the Golden Heart
Author – Gordon Doherty
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 410 Pages (Kindle)
Publication – June 14th 2013
My Rating – 5/5 Stars
Stay strong, Haga, for the Golden Heart will rise in the west. At dawn, he will wear the guise of a lion hunter. At noon, he will march to the east as if to conquer the sun itself. At dusk, you will stand with him in the final battle, like an island in the storm . . .
1068 AD: the armies of the Seljuk Sultanate tear at Byzantium’s borders, poised to strike the death blow that will bring all Anatolia under their yoke. Alp Arslan’s armies grow stronger with every passing season, while the beleaguered Byzantine soldiers defend for their lives, the hope in their hearts guttering its last.
This war has been Apion’s mistress for many years, casting a dark shadow across his soul. When the mysterious crone comes to him, she can offer him only a glimmer of light. But at the darkest of moments, the smallest chink of light can be blinding. It will sweep Apion into the heart of the empire, Constantinople, and then onto the arid plains of Syria. It will taunt him with trust, betrayal, intrigue, love and brutal conflict. But, above all, it will offer him hope.
First off have you read the first book in the series?? If not… why?? Head here to read my review of Strategos – Born in the Borderlands
12 years have passed since we last saw Apion.. and by the authors own words they have been 12 bloody years..
The tone of the book is set from the start. Words that come to mind are Dark, Revenge & War
Apion and Nasir are locked in what looks like a never ending war between their opposing armies and from the start of the book you can tell Apion is currently on the losing side.. the borderlands of the empire look set to fall.. the Haga and his loyal men including my favourites from the previous book Sha, Blastares and Procopius stand in the way of the Seljuk army.
After a lot of bloodshed we see Apion summoned to Constantinople where we are introduced to a lot of new characters. The one I found interested me the most was Dederic a fellow solider, his character gains depth throughout the book, I love Apion don’t get me wrong but I absolutely loved Dederic.
The plot of the book surpassed any expectations I had. There’s so much crammed in to the book its crazy but nothing feels rushed or misplaced.
Now Apion along with his men are tasked to head into Syria and take the war to the Seljuks..and Nasir.
I don’t want to give away anything but Gordon manages to bring some conclusion to the whole Apion/Nasir revenge storyline while also leaving you on tenterhooks as to what will happen next. There are some big surprises in store for you lucky readers.
The author clearly knows his stuff, he fills you with so much background information throughout the book but I never felt bogged down.
If I was to think of anything I didn’t like it would only be that Sha, Blastares and Procopius don’t play as big a part in this book as I would have liked but saying that once you read the story you can tell why.. Gordon weaved such a good tale that these guys needed to take a step back in order to see the story develop.
This is such a good book and I can’t wait to get time to read the 3rd book! I highly recommend to check out Gordon’s work.
Gordon has quickly became a favorite author of mine and i’m excited to see what lies ahead