Authors: Sam Barone
Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Historical
This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
Epub ISBN 9781407087771
Published in the United Kingdom by Arrow Books in 2010
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Copyright © Sam Barone, 2010
Previously published as a trade paperback under the title
Conflict of Empires.
Sam Barone has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This novel is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser
First published in paperback in 2010 by Century
Arrow Books The Random House Group Limited 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA
Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited can be found at:
The Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
The Random House Group Limited supports The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the leading international forest certification organisation. All our titles that are printed on Greenpeace approved FSC certified paper carry the FSC logo. Our paper procurement policy can be found at:
Typeset by SX Composing DTP, Rayleigh, Essex Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Bookmarque Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4TD
To all those warriors throughout the ages who fought honorably
for their country. And to Bill O’Reilly, a different kind of
fighter, but a culture warrior nonetheless.
Born and raised in New York, Sam Barone attended Manhattan College, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1965, with a major in Psychology. After a hitch in the Marine Corps, he became a software developer and manager. After spending nearly 30 years in the software development game, he retired in 1999 to start working on his second career: writing. Sam Barone is the author of
Dawn of Empire
Please feel free to contact Sam at
Also available by Sam Barone
Dawn of Empire
Book I – The Gathering
– the city of Sumer on the great southern sea . . .
avtar guided the sturdy ship through the swirling water of the Tigris, toward the Sumerian dock, now less than two hundred paces away, that marked the end of the voyage. On shore a crowd of idlers followed his approach, ready to note the smallest mishap. A portly man attended by two guards pushed his way to the forefront. As Yavtar edged the
ever closer, he observed the yellow sash tied across the man’s bulging stomach that marked him as one of the king’s representatives, most likely the dockmaster. Arms folded, the man reached the head of the last empty dock and stood there, awaiting the ship’s arrival.
For this important mission Yavtar had traveled day and night, racing downriver from Akkad to Sumer in less than four days. Now he almost regretted the haste, as he had to bring the
ashore at midday, the peak of dockside activity. Since he hadn’t made a single stop along the way, this would be his first landfall in almost four months. A sailing master who spent more time on land than water soon lost his skills, so Yavtar swallowed his pride and muttered a prayer to the river gods to help him achieve a safe landing.
’s extra length – she stretched almost twenty-five paces from stem to stern – made her unwieldy in cross-currents. If he misjudged the current when he turned the
toward land, the swiftness of the water could drive him downstream, stern first,
accompanied by laughter and catcalls from shore. Having to come about and pull upwards against the river’s flow would be a humiliating and slow arrival.
Yavtar gauged the moment, then leaned hard on the steering oar, forcing it against the current and almost broadside to the flowing water.
“Drop the sail!” he barked.
A crewman stretched out his arm and jerked hard against the restraining rope. The square linen sail slid down with a thud.
“Pull, you dogs, pull!”
The four crewmen grunted against the sweeps, their bare feet straining for purchase. As the
edged closer to the shore, the force of the river churned against the length of the hull. The vessel canted over as the pressure increased, and through his feet Yavtar felt the ship pitch up and down against the conflicting forces of water and oars. He caught a glimpse of his five passengers, huddled around the ship’s single mast, and clutching at it for support, their eyes wide with excitement.
began to swing around, and now the bow was less than fifty paces from the dock. For a moment Yavtar thought he’d waited too long. His hand twitched with tension, gripping the steering oar with all his strength, as the Tigris’s powerful current sought to roll the ship over and send the crew and their valuable cargo tumbling beneath the water. He forced himself to wait one more moment, then planted his feet firmly and pulled the steering oar in the opposite direction.
Spray splashed over the
’s bow, and Yavtar feared she might roll over. An instant later, the river relented. As smooth as a leaf floating on the current, the ship glided alongside the dock, and slid gently into its berth with the slightest bump against the rope-wrapped stanchions. Yavtar allowed himself a brief smile. Despite more than two months since his last voyage, his eye still hadn’t lost the skill acquired in nearly thirty years on the river.
Two crewmen leapt onto the dock to secure the vessel fore and aft. The moment the
stopped moving, the early summer heat struck down from the cloudless, blue sky like a hammer.
“Well done, shipmaster,” Daro said, joining Yavtar at the stern. “I thought we were going for a swim. At least you didn’t give those hooligans anything to hoot about.”