The Dark Lord
by Thomas Harlan
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
312 pages; ISBN: 0312865600
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
In 625 AD, Augustus Galen knows the Roman Empire that he rules is in deep trouble from the threat of Lord Dahak and the Persian Empire. The star of Constantinople fell three years earlier to Lord Dahak leaving the Eastern Roman Empire teetering on the brink of collapse. Dahak’s use of forbidden sorcery like necromancy has led to a near invincible force of living and deceased soldiers.
With their forces led by General Shahr-Baraz, the Persians target Aegyptus as the next strategic place to destroy their rivals. Galen’s younger brother Caesar Aurelian leads the Roman forces, but the morale is low, as the Persian militia seems invincible. Defeat here would cause havoc on food supplies for Rome and the knowledge that crossing the Mediterranean is probably the next focus of the Persians. A besieged Galen sees a glimmer of hope in his youngest brother, the strong sorcerer Caesar Maxian and with an alliance with the Queen of Palmya and Mohammed Al'Quraysh though both remember the treachery of the Eastern Roman Empire. The final battle of the war to end wars will determine who will rule earth for millenniums to come.
THE DARK LORD is the final novel in a strong alternate history series, the “Oath of Empire”. The fourth tale provides closure to the key themes yet keeps the level of complexities at stratospheric levels rarely found in his sub-genre. However, readers, especially the adrenaline crowd will find that the intricate of the plot requires time to develop and maintain. Still, Thomas Harlan provides quite a coup with this triumphant conclusion to Rome, circa seventh century AD.
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