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This is the first Sacred Band story I have ever read and I m left wondering how in the heck I overlooked this amazing world created by Janet Morris and Chris Morris in the 1980s Whoops, did I just carbon date myself there One of the things I found so great about this book is that it doesn t matter that I missed all that cool stuff in the 80s because I picked this one up and dove right Sure there were a very few allusions to prior stories, but not enough to make you feel like you ve really missed out on something major This book stands alone and does a great job of doing it What happens when gods, fates, and other supernatural forces dally with the lives of men Nothing good We find Tempus leading his Sacred Band of Stepsons into harms way in an effort to save the fated dead on the field of battle, setting off a chain of events even gods and goddesses can t control If they are successful, how will men sworn to fight and die alongside their brethren find a way to live with themselves The supposed son of a god, a seer, a wizarding boy, and one blessed by a goddess come to earth How might these four young Sacred Banders effect the outcome The only way to find out is to read this wonderful book for yourself.When I finished The Sacred Band, before I realized it had happened I had taken my Kindle back to the first page and read three pages again It must have been my subconscious trying it s best not to leave Sanctuary leaving my new found friends behind I cannot wait to get my hands on another Sacred Band tome. The Sacred Band Fantasy Heroic Mythological Adventure.5 stars.One of the signs of a great book, for me at least, is the urge to continue reading it despite the fact it is very late or there is something else I really should be doing This was one such book Spawned from the Thieves World series and interwoven with historical research and ancient sources the story covers the rescue of the missing members of the Sacred Band of Thebes, who fought at the Battle of Chaeronea and whose whereabouts are unknown to history In the style of the myths of old, such Homer, this is a great adventure filled with war and there is a LOT of that love, loyalty and bravery far beyond the call of duty, not to mention interfering deities, wicked wizards, conflict and change, balance and harmony The world of Tempus and his companions has been extensively researched, and it shows, for the world is extremely rich, totally believable and yet utterly fantastic The reader experiences a ride of epic and heroic proportions, from the graphic battle scenes, including the shock and loss, to the weapons, armour, lifestyles and religion of the world The characters are engaging, varied and interesting from the enigmatic and warlike Tempus to the young Niko, who strives for balance Heroes abound as they strive to fight an enemy like no other and one who could destroy them and all they hold dear An excellent, exciting and totalling enthralling adventure and I look forward to reading many by this author. THE SACRED BAND, by Janet Morris and Chris Morris Published by Perseid Press Copyright 2010 by Janet Morris and Chris Morris 547 pages Available from and Barnes Noble in trade paperback, Kindle and Nook editions Reviewed by Joe Bonadonna Sanctuary and Thieves World are both registered trademarks owned by Lynn Abbey are mentioned here only for purposes of this review All three hundred of the Sacred Band of Thebes fought at Chaeronea in August of 338 BCE, and two hundred fifty four skeletons lie buried there today under a granite lion Some still argue about the fate of the forty six whose skeletons were not recovered Plutarch says that they died together, and Philip of Macedon wept to see it Another, later, view is that the remainder surrendered, were taken prisoner, or deserted We tell a different story Janet and Chris Morris, in their Authors Notes and Acknowledgments from The Sacred Band.And this is the premise behind this wonderfully rich, complex, dramatic and highly emotional epic of gods, demi gods and Men This is the story of how Tempus the Black, Favorite of Enlil, Storm God of the Armies, and the one they call Riddler, challenged the gods to rescue twenty three pairs of Thebans, forty six warriors who had been fated to die And rescue them he did Charon, Lysis and the other forty four men of the original Sacred Band of Thebes by opening a dimensional portal from Chaeronea to Lemuria, where they were taken, trained and made part of the greater Sacred Band This is the also the story of Nicodemus, who is called Niko and Stealth, a true weapon of the gods, of his own struggle with becoming the favorite, the avatar of a god, and his intimate relation with the goddess Harmony After training and orientation, the Thebans do their best to settle in, to become one with Tempus s Sacred Band But it s difficult for many of them, because memories of the Chaeronean battleplain, memories of seeing friends and comrades die in a battle in which they were fated to die keep intruding on their thoughts Dreams of Chaeronea haunt their hearts and give pain to their souls Various versions of the mantra, Long spears, thunking into flesh Men staggering backward, impaled, weeping, are a recurring theme throughout this story, as men dream of Chaeronea and that far away field of battle What these survivors remember and what they suffer adds a personal and very poignant touch to this novel, for as we turn the pages we get to know these men, these warriors, these heroes Now, Tempus has plans for his new and greater Sacred Band to return to Sanctuary, that infamous border town between morality and immortality, its feet in hell and its fingers stretched up to heaven Sanctuary the center of activity in the classic Thieves World Series, where I first discovered Tempus, known then as the Hell Hound In Sanctuary once again, Tempus plans to settle old scores and tidy loose ends But he and the Sacred Band get than they bargain for when they return to that place where anything may happen, and sometimes does, when wills are strong and mysteries invoked For instance, there s the warrior Kouras, soon to become a favorite and an avatar of the god Vashanka, who once favored Tempus How Kouras deals with becoming one with a Storm God and his love for a girl named Shawme is just one of the many sub plots that grace this novel, which owes so much to history, mythology and the sheer brilliance, talent and imagination of Janet and Chris Morris A young, hot headed warrior named Shamshi, who has wizard s blood, gets things going when he murders a harlot one night Apprehended by the Band, he is stripped naked, sewn inside the hide of an animal, and placed on the altar of Enlil, the Storm God If no beast eats him in the night, then we free him in the morning The lesson s done Punishment finished He s cleansed by the storm god of any taint If the god sends a bear or a wolf or a panther to tear him apart, then that is Enlil s verdict and no one interferes But if anyone cuts him loose tonight or tries to save him, we hunt down all of them and kill them So Tempus says to his men Harsh treatment Not at all This punishment is most fitting to the crime in the context of the novel and the world in which the Sacred Band lives But Shamshi has patience, and there is one who walks in dreams and shadows who has his eye on the boy with wizard s blood Thus, when Shamshi is freed, he is now bound to his savior in body, mind, heart and soul He then sets out on the road of vengeance, uses his skills as a warrior and some other talents and gifts and help he has been given, and begins to pick off the Sacred Band, one by one But his main target, the man he feels has betrayed him, and the one he most wants to kill is Nicodemus Niko, whose war name is Stealth Now the manhunt begins as Sham preys on the Sacred Band, killing them with single minded determination and cold blooded ruthlessness Night after night, men die A stable burns one night and horses die in a very tense and moving chapter Other powers are brought into play as Tempus and the Band balance duty with their personal manhunt Old friends and comrades come to aid in the hunt Jihan, daughter of a sea god and Tempus s lover Randal the Mage, Ischade the Witch, and even Cime, Evening Star of Lemuria and sister of Tempus, are called in to help But there is behind this manhunt than just tracking down a rapist and a murderer, for the stage is being set for a coming battle, a battle for Meridian, the realm of Askelon, entelechy of dreams and shadows This battle will test the Sacred Band as it has never been tested before, and they will be hard pressed because worlds collide in this battle when Askelon brings Meridian to Sanctuary, and the battle becomes a shadow, an echo of the great battle of Chaeronea And in this battle, not only the mettle of the Sacred Band will be put to the test, but that of the original Sacred Band of Thebes, as well those forty six warriors who had been fated to die but were rescued by Tempus They will not only be fighting both old and new foes, but old comrades, as well comrades who died at the hands of the Mesopotamians Tempus and Niko will be tested in this battle, too To the limits of their skills and power, strength and endurance they will be tested Question is will Enlil the Storm God come to the aid of Tempus, his avatar And what of Niko Will the goddess Harmony continue to watch over him Guard and protect him Can Askelon, a god himself, be defeated And what of Shamshi He s a great character because, for all that he is evil, he is also one to be pitied He is a victim of forces and powers beyond his understanding, as well as a perpetrator of heinous acts He is a pawn in the hands of something greater than himself, a puppet and a tool used by gods and the Fates.The Sacred Band is much than great Heroic Fantasy it is classic literature, filled with sub plots, a fine cast of well drawn characters, insight and wisdom and recurring themes of honor, faith, brotherhood and love This novel spoke to me on a personal level because it s a story of pure human drama and powerful emotions While the characters are larger than life, they are also richly drawn and written with great depth of insight and humanity What also rings true with the Sacred Band is their military tradition, their ethos These characters are soldiers, warriors They are not only mythic heroes, they are also everyday heroes real people, everyday people who face extraordinary odds and foes They are true to all who have served in any branch of the military This is not sword and sorcery, this is not elves and dwarves and high concept fantasy The Sacred Band has the sharp edge of reality, the harshness, the bitterness and the danger of the real world Love, loyalty, honor these are the ideals by which these characters live and die This novel is epic in scope It is mythic by heritage It is positively Homeric This is a 5 Star novel written by two highly talented writers who have been around for a very long time, who have not lost their chops and their edge, and have not slowed down There is so much in this novel to enjoy, so much I haven t even touched on All I can say is that this is classic stuff Buy it Read it You ll see As Tempus and the Sacred Band would say, Life to you, and everlasting glory. In a world of books that try to capture the vintage literacy of times past but fail, it is refreshing and exhilarating to finally find a book in this day and age that one can honestly say is an instant classic.The story is already complex, but then you throw in an impressive collection of characters, each getting their turn in the the spotlight It s simply mind blowing, none fade away and there aren t any loose ends, simply a remarkable feat The numerous characters The Sacred Band and the Thebans are sewn together so seamlessly that what should look like a quilt is like a painted masterpiece If I had to fault the book, the only thing I can say is that I hit a snag in the beginning I had a few problems understanding and remembering who was who, because the characters have their given name and also their war name, and in some cases a god given name and I am notoriously awful when it comes to names So, the fault is really just me However, it didn t take long for me to catch on to a plot this intriguing and dangerous The authors knew the dynamics of war and the sequences leading up to it, everything was perfectly played out like a good chess game and the fun part was you could see it from so many different points of view The Sacred Band took me into a world of gods, demigods, mortals, and other beings Each with their own affections and opinions toward one another hatred, respect and most importantly love I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and will be recommending it to all of my friends and family J.S.Turner Finally a skillfully wrought story without dragons or trolls or elves no magic rings, and no quest for a talisman to save the universe Instead, what Janet and Chris Morris have accomplished is a compelling and suspenseful story that incorporates superbly researched history woven into a mythic tale of human drama Deftly balancing the complexities of human emotion as 4th century BC Greeks and Thebans deal with war, traitors, and jealous gods, the authors have imprinted The Sacred Band as a must read While there are many strengths to the novel, there are two that I find worthy of mention believable characters especially as it relates to dialogue, which translates into do I care about these characters and finely crafted imagery One of my pet peeves is stilted language in any novel formulaic rather than real Add to that the dilemma of narrative imagery that affects all novels either too much or too little Thankfully, the authors have blended just the right mix of believable dialogue and thus characters with exceptional imagery The result is a story that sucks one in, building with each succeeding page Not only did I care about the characters, I was sorely tempted to skip ahead Bottom line get it now You won t be disappointed Hands down my favorite so far The addition of the Sacred Band of Thebes and their goddess made this book just superb We meet back up with one of my favorite characters other than Niko , Ischade the necromant What can I say about Ischade and Strat other than WOW Even without the authors going into any detail, the love those two have for each other It almost stole the book away from Niko who, once again goes through Hell and back, but emerges stronger, better, complete To me, this book was about love than any of the other books We have Niko s love for Tempus, for Randal, for Harmony, for the band Tempus has his love for Niko, the band, Cime and Jihan and Kouras Crit with his worrisome love for Strat, who loves both Crit and the dangerous Ischade We have a goddess love for her fighters and their love for her All this love floating aroundand not a lot of words about it, but it is THEREyou can t help but notice it We have the opposite of love the hatred that Shamshi and Askelon have for my poor, poor Nikodemus This story line just floored me What a horrid match those two make The entelechy of dreams and dark mage blooded, Banderan trained youth The hatred those two have for Niko and Tempus just drips with venom and malice As much as I love Niko, that storyline was my favorite in this book Shamshi turned up at the weirdest times, causing strife and confusion Just freaking brilliant And we add to all that emotion , capping it off with one of the best written, most concise battles that I have ever had the pleasure to read I read it three times to make sure I didn t miss anything, and I am still sure I did Well choreographed action, no wasted words This is one of the few battles I have read where I could SEE the action unfolding before my eyes I could see the spears and arrows, some hitting home and causing great injury and others being intercepted by shields, I could see the masses of fighters with all the various injuries I could hear the shouts, feel the fear running through the fighters, I could almost taste the metallic flavor of blood okay, I may have bitten the inside of my lipanxiety for all my guys just about did me in These books have all picked me up and plopped me into the midst of The Sacred Band and made me experience it all.When all is said and done, the final scene on the spit by the sea..yeah, I cried.it is emotional, poignant and wraps it all up with a new military patch and commendations I dare you to read the voice of Abarsis at the end when he talks to Riddler.And that right there, that apparent first had exposure, is why I just adore these books, the characters and most of all the authors Total immersion in the history, the pantheon of gods, and human nature the good, the bad and the worst There are no better books that I have found that call to a history buff who is also a lover of heroic fantasy books Life to you, and everlasting glory |Book ⚈ The Sacred Band ♨ The Sacred Band of Thebes lives on, a world away, in this mythic novel of love in war in ancient times InBCE, during the Battle of Chaeronea that results in the massacre of the Sacred Band of Thebes, the legendary Tempus and his Stepson cavalry rescue twenty three pairs of Theban Sacred Banders, paired lovers and friends, to fight on other days These forty six Thebans, whose bones will never lie in the mass grave that holds their two hundred and fifty four brothers, join with the immortalized Tempus and his Sacred Band of Stepsons, consummate ancient cavalry fighters, to make new lives in a faraway land and fight the battle of their dreams where gods walk the earth, ghosts take the field, and the angry Fates demand their due Land Degradation And Society a world away From Cameroon to Paris: Mousgoum Architecture In and Out of Africa in this mythic novel of love in war in ancient times InBCE Nocturnum: Long Shades during the Battle of Chaeronea that results in the massacre of the Sacred Band of Thebes Gallery Bundu: A Story about an African Past the legendary Tempus and his Stepson cavalry rescue twenty three pairs of Theban Sacred Banders Links to the Diasporic Homeland paired lovers and friends Given Time: I. Counterfeit Money to fight on other days These forty six Thebans Cockney Past and Present: A Short History of the Dialect of London whose bones will never lie in the mass grave that holds their two hundred and fifty four brothers The Birth of Industrial Britain: 1750-1850 join with the immortalized Tempus and his Sacred Band of Stepsons The Ra Expeditions consummate ancient cavalry fighters Brides For Brazen Gulch (Silhouette Yours Truly, to make new lives in a faraway land and fight the battle of their dreams where gods walk the earth Getting into Print: The Decision-Making Process in Scholarly Publishing ghosts take the field O Fio da Navalha and the angry Fates demand their due At 600 pages, this epic story is not for the faint hearted, but for those who venture into the fantastic world of ancient gods, wars and battles, The Sacred Band is immensely rewarding The writing style is meant to pace the reader, but by doing so, I found that the images of people and events were deeply impressed on my mind, particularly the battle of Chaeronea in 338 BCE, which is the central theme of this story For those familiar with classic history, this Fantasy version would be particularly exciting, but even for those of us who just like to enjoy a good book, The Sacred Band won t disappoint The writing style epitomizes true literature of high quality, making it a very rewarding reading experience on its own merit, regardless of historic basis or the fantasy genre The ancient world relied heavily on its belief in gods and how those gods controlled or interacted with mortal man, and this makes an excellent platform for a special kind of Fantasy novel The characters, gods, avatar of gods, and other beings in between the heavenly and earthly realm are gradually introduced and developed, and near the end of the book I found myself feeling well acquainted and even fond of the main characters Tempus, Niko, Strat, Crit, the Theban goddess Harmony, among others, and was anxious to read the outcome of the climactic battle, hoping they would all survive unscathed Getting involved with the characters, their lives and destinies in such a way is always a sign of a good story and a well written book, and for me personally, The Sacred Band has made a part of obscure history come to life in my mind and thereby also changed my perception of this part of history. The Sacred Band starts with the Sacred Band of Stepsons, led by thier immortal leader, Tempus Thales, avatar of the ancient storm god Enlil, saving 46 warriors of the Sacred Band of Thebes, an ancient Greek warrior fighting unit, from thier fated death The consequences of cheating destiny and death and altering history reverberate throughout the novel Fans of the series will not be disappointed, as favorite characters and locales from the earlier novels and stories are present in the book The Stepsons, including Niko, Critias, Straton, Sync, and others even return to the ill fated city of Sanctuary along with their new found brothers in battle, the 23 pairs of Theban warriors What follows is an action packed, fast paced novel filled with battles, mysteries, murder, sorcery, precient visions, philosophy, mythology, mysticism, gods, sexuality, and explorations into the relationships amongst the Stepsons and Thebans and how they resolve the integration of their separate Sacred Bands I have waited years for new stories from what are some of my favorite characters and settings in fantasy, and I was thrilled to read this new novel by Janet Morris and Chris Morris If you love action packed fantasy with rich settings and complex, deep characters, then you will love The Sacred Band. I was gifted with a copy of this book by the author for the purpose of giving an honest review I really didn t know what to expect with The Sacred Band when the author requested a read and review I was not familiar with the Thieves World shared fantasy world and the book looks like it s based on Greek history and mythology, perhaps even set in ancient Greece, which isn t really my thing, but it looked intriguing so I decided to give it a go, and I m glad I did.The Sacred Band is an exciting and deeply emotional epic fantasy about a band of warriors, dedicated to each other as brothers, who find themselves in a battle to restore their integrity and right some old imbalances in their world It touches on ancient Greece, when the Sacred Band of Stepsons comes to our world to save a group of otherwise doomed Theban warriors in an incident based on a historical battle Then the action returns to Thieves World, a world where gods and demigods, wizards and mortals interact in a struggle for control A member of the Sacred Band of Stepsons then commits a terrible crime, stirring up other forces and bringing old tensions and imbalances to a head in a great, epic, magical battle.The writing is gorgeous, rich, colorful, and emotional It slips between present and past tense, which at first I found confusing But when I got used to it, the passages in present tense gave a very immediate and impressionistic feeling to the story.This book is a later stand alone novel that follows an earlier trilogy beginning with Beyond Sanctuary The author recommended that I start with The Sacred Band, and I was able to pick up on the characters, setting, and backstory pretty well, but I might have had an easier time understanding who the characters are, what they want and what drives them, and what was at stake for them, if I had started with the earlier trilogy The Beyond trilogy is now on my TBR list, and I m looking forward to catching up with the characters and events before The Sacred Band.It took me a while to really get a grasp on the characters, again because I was coming into their story later on, but eventually each one stood out to me as an individual, well drawn character I particularly liked Niko although a brief mention of his activities in a brothel left me somewhat less sympathetic and admiring of him than maybe the reader is intended to be , and Kouras, one of the youngest Stepsons There are a number of admirable female characters as well, though I was a little disappointed that they are all goddesses or other supernatural beings There is no major female character who is an ordinary mortal Thieves World appears to be very much a man s world, with ordinary women being relegated to the roles of dancing girls, servants, and prostitutes.For a 5 star review, this review seems to have a lot of reservations, but in the end, despite the difficulties I had with the book, I couldn t put it down It s a long book and it took me a while because I was reading it during a particularly busy period, but every chance I got, I picked it up just to read a little to find out how the characters were doing and what happened next I was deeply emotionally touched by the honor and loyalty that the members of the Sacred Band feel for each other, and intrigued enough by the characters, events, and world that I m looking forward to reading the trilogy that comes before.