Forget women. Hell hath no fury like a freed galley slave.
Popular author Murray Lee Eiland brings his newest hero to vivid life in this, the seventh installment of the Orfeo saga. Memnon is the slave’s name, and he wastes no time in rallying his formerly indentured shipmates to murderous intent against their previous masters, the hapless Therans.
They march to victory, wielding weapons pried from the Therans’ dead fingers. In fact, their pure battle lust attracts the attention of a much bigger warlord, Orton. He promises Memnon and his men land and status if the ragged but rage-filled band of men joins up with Orton’s troops.
During the ensuing combat, Memnon finds himself fighting alongside battlefield legends Telemon and Orfeo. He’s duly filled with adulation, but, as the day winds down, Orton is gravely wounded. This renders null and void his promise to make Memnon and his men new members of the local landed gentry.
So, they turn, out of necessity, to banditry in order to survive. However, he excels even at this, building up his sphere of influence and consolidating surrounding towns into a virtual kingdom.
Author Eiland’s skills as a storyteller are prominently on display in this tale of a lowly galley slave’s rise to prominence. Memnon and his brother Menas are certainly not cardboard cutout characters, as so many in the action-adventure genre are these days. Eiland imbues each one with hopes and dreams, along with more than a few flaws, giving readers plenty of reasons to cheer for their continued success.
However, as the plot progresses, some of the luster fades from the brothers’ reputation. Memnon in particular becomes a great schemer for ever more power, aided ably by his conniving wife Klytemnestra, who has a pretty vicious reputation for deceit herself.
Eventually, Memnon — now calling himself Agamemnon — tires of simply being king of a petty holding of hill towns and hatches a plot with his brother Menas to raise a fighting force to raid the city of Troy. In so doing, they visit Telemon, expecting his unqualified support.
To their surprise, however, he refuses, citing a need to defend his own people. This doesn’t set well with the brothers, who, in a moment of drunken enlightenment, make an extremely poor choice.
They kidnap Telemon’s beautiful daughter, Elena, and escape into the dead of night.
The rest of the book details the epic pursuit staged by Telemon to recover his daughter and deal out death to the two idiotic brothers. It remains far from a sure thing, however, as Agamemnon recruits an impressive army of fortune hunters ready for a share of plunder from the sack of Troy.
Then, in typically atypical Eiland fashion (he is never predictable), the whole thing winds up in a mano a mano contest pitting Telemon against a seven-foot-tall giant named Ajax, whose sole reason for being on the scene is to protect Agamemnon’s worthless hide.
Does it work?
Download this incredibly entertaining adventure story to find out. And pick up the other books in the series as well. Each installment adds a different and refreshing new character or quest that could easily stand on its own successfully.
As usual, five-plus stars to The Raid On Troy. All fans of this popular saga will be well-satisfied.