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Posts Tagged ‘Barry Sadler’

Casca #6: The Persian – book review
This volume is number six in the “Casca: The Eternal Mercenary” book series.  “Casca #6: The Persian” (1982©) was written by Barry Sadler.  For those of you who haven’t read my other reviews, Casca is Casca Rufio Longinus, the Roman soldier who pierced the side of Jesus of Nazareth while he was being crucified.  Just before dying, Jesus tells Casca that he is happy in his role and that he will remain the same until they meet again.  Each volume tells some of Casca’s life over the last two thousand years as he awaits the second coming of Jesus.
Because Casca doesn’t age, every 20 or 30 years he must travel to avoid questions about why he doesn’t seem to get older.  In a prior volume (number 3), Casca was in China.  In this, he is returning to the West and pauses to deliver a message from the emperor of China to the King of the Persians warning of impending attacks from the Huns.  Casca falls into service for the King (Shapur II) and this covers the few years of that service.
This episode has two interesting sub-stories (for me).  The first involves a re-enactment of a battle tactic Casca first saw in China.  As the enemy advances, you have a line of “volunteers” step forward and cut their throats in front of the enemy.  This is said to surprise and then terrify the Hun warriors.  They turn to flee and are then defeated in detail as they try to retreat / run away.  Casca relates this tactic to Shapur who decides he wants to try it and see if it works.  He sends Casca out with an under-manned force, but with several times the number of “volunteers” as the Chinese used.  The tactic works again and Casca is able to defeat the Huns even though out-numbered by several times his own force.
The second sub-story is about Casca’s “curse”.  Because he cannot be killed, each volume has a point where the miracle / curse must be demonstrated.  In prior stories, Casca has been drowned, buried alive, poisoned, fed to crabs and had his heart cut out and one hand completely cut off.  In this episode, the king judges Casca to have become too popular with the army so he decides to trump up some charges of treason and then have Casca burned alive.  Of course Casca survives, but the execution and recovery are explained in graphic detail.  As a reader, you almost feel you are sharing Casca’s pain.
There is a third story-line which also ties back to the earlier Chinese episode, but I’ve already given too much of the story away.  Final recommendation: another strong recommendation.
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On This Day In:
2014 Hey, I Resemble That Remark… (4!)
2013 Sit, Put, Until…
2012 Lessons For My Son
2011 Reaching The Right Audience
2010 Christmas Trees and Profession of Faith

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Man’s only true purpose for existence was to think; for in the mind were found the answers to all questions and time was meaningless.  If in one’s life a man can but find one truth, and pass it on to those who come after him, he has done well.
   —    Barry Sadler
From his novel: “Casca #5 : The Barbarian
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On This Day In:
2014 Now In Imagination, On The Other Hand…
2013 No Plan, No Map
2012 Singing About Love
2011 The Awesome Power Of Truth

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Ambition is the greatest disease and killer of man that the world has ever known.  More than any plague, man’s desire to inflict his will on others has caused the senseless deaths of millions, and to what end?  All kings must die.  What have they accomplished with their ambition and self-delusion of power?  For their lives are nothing more than fleeting moments in the course of centuries, and don’t really matter all that much.
   —   Barry Sadler
From his novel: “Casca #5 : The Barbarian
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On This Day In:
2014 More Branches To Climb
Just In Time — Happy Thanksgiving (2014)
2013 For And Against
2012 De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum
2011 Similar And Different
2010 Reminiscing
Differences

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Casca #5: The Barbarian   —  book review
Today’s review is for the fifth book in the “Casca: The Eternal Mercenary” series titled: Casca: The Barbarian (1981©), written by Barry Sadler.  In this episode, Casca meets up with a Germanic / Norse tribesman named Glam and the story revolves are their adventures together over the next 30 to 40 years.  Basically, Glam leads Casca around northern Europe and Casca takes over a “hold”.  Casca over-throws the vicious lord of the hold and subsequently marries his daughter.  Thus, Casca gains and ultimately loses the second great love of his life.  Glam gives Casca one of his nicknames: “The Walker”.
All of these volumes have now fallen into their standard formula: character intro, travel around a bit, a few minor fights, a little bit of history, a major battle, and then some resolution before Casca has to wander off.  Today’s title refers to a scene in the book where the original lord of the hold has a wall at the tides edge staked.  When he wishes to execute someone (but not be “responsible” for the death), he has them staked with just their head above the high tide.  The crabs do their work during the night and only the head (and skeleton) is left the following morning.  Of course, the “curse” saves Casca (again).
If you are into adult / male historical fiction – with lots of geography, historical background and battles, this continues to be a very satisfying series.  Final recommendation: strong recommendation.
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On This Day In:
2014 Beyond Proof
2013 Poor Students Of History
2012 Between Two Worlds
2011 Common Humanity
2010 The Last Two Olympians

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Today’s book review is for “Casca: Panzer Soldier” (1980©) written by Barry Sadler.  This is book four in the “Casca – The Eternal Mercenary” series.  This is a re-read for me.  My first reading would have been sometime in the early to mid-1980’s.
Casca Rufio Longinus is the legendary Roman soldier who slayed Christ with a spear.  Just prior to dying, the Messiah tells Casca: “You are satisfied with what you are and so you shall remain until we meet again.”  Thus began the (series and) adventures of Casca across two-thousand years (and counting).
In this volume, Carl Langer (Casca) has decided that Communism will be the end of Western Civilization, so he joins the German Army to fight the Russians on the Eastern Front.  Too late, he discovers the horrors of the Nazis and their “Final Solution”.  Casca also uncovers the role played by “The Brotherhood” in the war.  (See yesterday’s post for a brief intro to the “Brotherhood”.)
Like every book in this series, the descriptions of battles are graphic and powerful.  There is just enough historical accuracy thrown in to make the series “feel” like you are reading real history.  I think this is always the mark of good historical fiction – you almost believe you are reading an actual account.
Just like yesterday’s volume, this book is a fast read, typical of this series and many of the “male adventure-series” from that time period.  If you are “into” this genre (and I am), you will thoroughly enjoy this book (and I did).  I particularly like the historical fiction aspects of the series.  Highly recommended (book and series).
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On This Day In:
2014 Babies (I)
2013 Patriotic == Tell The Truth
2012 30 Days To Go
2011 Altering The Course

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Today’s book review is for “Casca: The War Lord” (1980©) written by Barry Sadler.   This is book three in the “Casca – The Eternal Mercenary” series.  This is a re-read for me.  My first reading would have been sometime in the early to mid-1980’s.
Casca is Casca Rufio Longinus, the legendary Roman soldier who slayed Christ with a spear.  Just prior to dying, the Messiah tells Casca: “You are satisfied with what you are and so you shall remain until we meet again.”  Thus began the (series and) adventures of Casca across two-thousand years (and counting).
In this volume, Casca decides to make his first visit to China.  As is the case with most of series, Casca has various adventures along the way, the most memorable being the temporary loss of his left hand in the discovery of the “Brotherhood of the Lamb”.  Of course, because he can never die and must remain as he is (was), his hand painfully reattaches.  The “Brotherhood” is a league of “crazy” religious fanatics who seek to follow and keep track of Casca, so they can honor Jesus and hasten the 2nd coming.  Of course, they hate Casca and seek to cause him as much physical pain as they can while waiting for Jesus.
Anyway, after multiple adventures, Casca ends up meeting and serving the Emperor, for which he is granted the title.
The book is a fast read as is typical of this series and many of the “male adventure-series” from that time period.  If you are “into” this genre (and I am), you will thoroughly enjoy this book (and I did).  I particularly like the historical fiction aspect of the series.  Highly recommended.
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On This Day In:
2014 Orange October (II) – Giants Win NLDS Game 2 In 18 Innings (2 to 1)!!
Acknowledging Doubt
2013 Fulfilled Acceptance
2012 Error Is Tolerated Here (So Far)
2011 In Defense Of Pain

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Today I completed the second book in the “Casca: The Eternal Mercenary” series “Casca #2: God Of Death” (1979©) written by Barry Sadler.  In this volume, Casca leads some Norse men in battle and then takes them out in long ships to adventure in new lands.  Ultimately, they land in Central America (probably Mexico) and run into the Teotecs and the Olmecs.  Casca is sacrificed to the Teotecs gods and has his heart cut out.  Now before anyone gets too worried about the rest of the series, please recall Casca cannot be killed because he was cursed (by Jesus) in book #1 to live forever.  (Well, at least until the second coming.)  Surviving death, Casca “becomes” the Teotecs “god”.
The story supposedly happens in the 3rd century AD.  The author conveniently overlooks the academic / scholarly belief the Olmecs disappeared (or were destroyed) as a civilization around 500 BC.  It also pre-dates the (probable) first voyages of the Vikings to the “New World” by about 700 years.  Be that as it may, the story is another well written, fast paced action story which is as entertaining as any re-watching of “Gladiator“, “The Long Ships” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” all rolled into one.
Final recommendation: strong recommendation.  Like all the books in this series, this is another fine example of historically based action / adventure / warfare genre which many (including myself) enjoy.  Again, the descriptions of warfare and violence in this book (and series) are quite graphic and this book is not suitable for pre-teens.
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On This Day In:
2014 Bull’s-Eye Next
2013 Change ÷ Time
2012 High Anxiety
2011 To Be, Do
2010 In the Arena…
Not An Island, Today…

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Today I’ve added a bunch of lyrics and two poems.  One of the poems, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was actually a poem before it was converted to a song.  The other poem (“Fire And Ice“) is another one I learned while a child.  I memorized it because it was meaningful – but mostly because it was short.
Next, I’ve added two more patriotic lyrics: “America, The Beautiful” and “The Star-Spangled Banner“.  My favorite line from America is “crown thy good, in brotherhood, thy liberty, in law”.
The next two are martial (as well as nationalistic), but they represent a very strong side of my personality: “The Ballad of the Green Berets” and “The Marine’s Hymn“.  I always thought I’d grow up to be a Marine, but then I found out they were actually part of the Navy and were mostly based on ships.  Since I didn’t know how to swim and was terrified of the water for most of my life – that was out!  My poor vision kept me out of consideration for a lot of occupations in my life.  I definitely would have considered being Airborne, Ranger and Special Forces.  I guess God had other plans…
The final two additions today are both about thinking back.  The first is by Billy Joel, who – for a brief period – was one of my favorite pop stars: “Keeping the Faith“.  The second, is another by Jim Croce: “Operator“.  Sometimes you want sooo bad to make that call — then, never mind!
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