Men of Bronze

by Scott Oden

Reviewed by Coral


It is the year 526 BCE and Egypt stands on the brink of disaster. In the east, Persia's power is growing and they have eyes for Egypt's empire.

The armies of Egypt are not what they were in the times of the great Pharaohs. Now they are forced to rely heavily on foreign mercenaries. Amongst them are Phanes - a Greek mercenary, whose courage and skill have long served Pharaoh Knnemibre Ahmose well, earning him command in Memphis - and Hasdrabal Barca - a Phoenician who serves with the Medjey guarding Egypt's borders against desert tribes.

Phanes' sudden and unexpected defection to the Persians would seem to be the nail in Egypt's coffin. Their last hope lies with Barca. But can a man haunted by his past, who looks for death in every battle, find the will to live so that he can save the country that he's come to love so much?

It's felt like such a long time since I last read a book I enjoyed as much as this one, though it wasn't without it's faults.

I couldn't really find anything to cheer for in either Barca or Phanes, although neither was a completely repellent character either (although Phanes was close).

I also disliked the fact that it was the 'bad' characters who were the more sexually liberal and promiscuous and the 'good' characters who were chaste and monogamous, which is so very cliché.

I was pretty much just reading to find out what happened, because the story was interesting, even if the individual characters weren't.

Grade: B