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The Wolf

by Leo Carew

To any lover of heroic fantasy stories this must be a treat! I had to figure out whether I wanted to choose a side, who belonged where, and the meaning of all the described cultural elements. I learned about fighting tactics, motivations and feelings that show an overwhelming enthusiasm for warfare, in which known history is cleverly adapted into the fiction. A truly epic story with lots of nuances. Being part 1, it ends with a cliffhanger...

Extract

To fight well, you must first forget.
A single mistake, a single lapse in concentration, and you could end the day as a cooling corpse. You could bleed inexorably into the dirt. Your windpipe could be severed and wheeze and hiss as life escaped you. Your tangled guts exposed to the air. You could lose a limb, an eye, your hand; the feeble flesh carved open by steel. Fearful, mortal wounds; but what happens then? Pain engulfs you, death comes for you. You know you must hold your nerve, and meet it with honour and courage. But in spite of yourself, you wonder if this is final, terrible ordeal is the one that you cannot sustain. Perhaps, as you have seen some among your comrades do, you will weep openly for your mother’s face, or because your day was about to go dark, so soon. The façade would crack and all would know that in your heart, at your core, you were never so sure as you looked; that you were fearful all along and never truly the man you tried so hard to be.

Parallels

Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire; 1) by Mark Lawrence
 

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