Writers often get asked a simple question: what’s the story about?
Dawn of Empire has always been a little difficult to describe, especially in a few words. After a few dozen halting explanations, I decided the best way to describe the story is to begin by saying what it is NOT.
First, it isn’t romantic fiction. So if you’re looking for a story where the perfect man meets up with the perfect woman and lives happily ever after, this isn’t it. Eskkar is far from perfect, with flaws too numerous to mention. Fortunately, his good character traits usually make up for any deficits.
Trella is, of course, as close to perfect as you can get. But she isn’t going to be swinging a sword and standing by her man as the barbarians approach. While there were no doubt a few women who knew how to fight, most did not. Trella’s weapon is her brain. Her IQ is approximately 175, and in an age when women weren’t good for much besides having children, she definitely doesn’t fit the mold. Trained from early childhood to THINK, she’s become adept at studying people, reading their faces, watching their eyes and hands. Think of her as an early Sherlock Holmes, someone smarter, more observant, a student of psychology, and with a near-perfect memory.
And make no mistake, Trella understands both the need for and proper usage of terror against their sworn enemies. To protect her children, she will do whatever is necessary.
Dawn of Empire is a love story, all right, with plenty of lust and romance, but it’s love tempered with an understanding, more of a partnership than a marriage. Eskkar and Trella need each other, if either of them is to achieve their goals.
Second, Dawn of Empire is historical fiction, not fantasy or sci-fi. No magic stones, no mystic runes, no people acting contrary to human nature. I tried to make it as believable as possible, with real people reacting in real ways to life-like and likely situations. I’m aware that it isn’t 100% historically accurate (see the Author Disclaimer). Like most authors, I took some liberties for the sake of the story and its message.
Third, one of the main messages within DOE is that people in the Bronze Age were as intelligent, if not more so, than people are today. While that sounds heretical, there are plenty of facts to support it. And it was an age of great technological change. I may have compressed the timeline a bit for the sake of the story, but the facts are correct. And I refer interested readers to Jared Diamond’s book, “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” which won the Pulitzer Prize, and explains why civilization started when and where it did (in Mesopotamia, India, and China) and not Australia or North America. Highly recommended.
So, back to the main question, what is Dawn of Empire all about? Well, it’s about the building of one of mankind’s earliest walled villages, at a time when technology breakthroughs were causing the shift from hunter/gatherers to farmers and villagers. The discovery of bronze, the breakthroughs in crop yields, the establishment of villages where various skills could be found, the utilization of the horse for warfare, improvements in archery, all these elements came together under the threat of invasion.
The usual answer to the waves of bandits and invaders was to flee. But one day, somewhere, a village decided to stand and fight for its existence, to do the unthinkable against all odds. And who better to lead the defense of that village than a outcast barbarian who now lives among farmers and villagers.
The villagers needed a brave man, a man willing to fight against impossible odds, and with the wits to lead them to victory. They found Eskkar.
Well, as the song goes, two out of three ain’t bad!