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The Eternal Mercenary (1987)

The Eternal Mercenary (1987)

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4 of 5 Votes: 2
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0515095354 (ISBN13: 9780515095357)

About book The Eternal Mercenary (1987)

Ah, Casca. I actually read this when I was really young; around the time it came out, so 6, 7 years old. It was alongside my Conans and Destroyers. I've mentioned before my mom didn't like me reading children's books, but I haven't read any of these since then. Thought I'd see how they read to my slightly older than 6-year old mind. Plus I needed something shorter after the time-dilated reading of Battlefield Earth. This is the first book in the series (which has a *lot* more books in it than I realized), which means this is the origin story. I'm okay with origin stories. It's one part Conan, one part Highlander, one part retired soldier, one part mid-20th Century American racism, one part confused Biblical mysticism, one part pro-war, one part cynicism of war, and two parts pretty good read. I enjoyed this book. It's very much in line with what I like to read, and now that I've read it again, I realize that this, as with Conan, The Destroyer, Batman, and Superman, had a profound impact on shaping how my young mind would grow to view both fiction *and* the world around me. I read this, and I can easily see where it has similar themes to those others, but may have been single-handedly responsible for my interest in the lone immortal hero, the one who suffers most by outliving everything he'll ever love. The author's literary inspirations are very clear in the text, and I will say this: if you're the kind of reader who is put off by the unavoidable racism to be found in older works (which is okay if you are), such as with Howard or Lovecraft, you *might* want to avoid this. It's not necessarily mean-spirited racism, but it *is* present. However, if you're a fan of sword and sandal adventure fiction, and haven't read this, *you should*. If you're a fan and haven't read it in a long time, you should. It's a fun read. And that's all you can really ask of adventure fiction.

The synopsis opens with a description of a religious connection that might offend some. It is too brief and does not describe the theme of regret and repentance that this legionnaire follows through history for his actions as simply a foot soldier following orders without thinking. Cursed to the life of a foot soldier forever the theme of a foot soldier confronted with choices about right or wrong and making choices about following orders to do wrong or not repeats. This book and its successors offer an interesting story on the life of a foot soldier going thru history. Written by Barry Sadler (Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler was a Green Beret, and the original artist who wrote and performed the song "Ballad of the Green Berets" featured in the John Wayne movie) who has the experience to write in the first person about these experiences. The books in this series all focus on the life and times of a foot soldier in various conflicts through history. The "Highlander" like premise of an immortal who cant die moving from conflict to conflict through history actually predates "Highlander" and might have been the inspiration for that series of movies and TV show. This series of books is recommended partcularly to fans of ...1. Steven Pressfield - His books like the Afghan Campaign and the Hot Gates feature the first person view of the life of a soldier.2. The "Highlander" series of movies and TV series. Like Sadler's books this franchise had good and not so good installments but overall was good entertainment in total.This is a review of the Casca series in general not the first book in particular. They are a good read.

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This book is what it is... The hyperbole is over the top (as one reader/reviewer noted below regarding women at the Coliseum "losing control"). It was certainly not written as high art, and is not the least bit subtle.However, as a warrior book, dealing with issues of combat, war, betrayal and loyalty, this book succeeds. This is especially true due to its excellent premise: That of the Roman soldier who is sentenced (for spearing Jesus while he was on the cross) to remain alive until Christ returns.Much like the "Conan" series, it was written for a certain type of reader. Nothing wrong with that as far as I am concerned.There is virtually no down time in the book, and is filled with exciting battles, fought in exotic places (Vietnam, Rome, Greece, Middle East).Not a bad pulp read, and a quick one.

A character living forever is always a special hook. Younger fans would think Barry has ripped off the Highlander TV show, except this book was first written back in 68 or so. Barry wrote this series for quite for a while BEFORE the first Highlander movie came out. I think I might have read a Casca book or two back in the 70's, along with the likes of the Executioner and Destroyer books as well.I like this concept and how Casca was condemned by Jesus to live "until they meet again". This first book Casca spent most of his time as a slave in one form or another. You would think if he vastly outlived all his peers, that he would have became more of a learned man. At the end of the book he was wondering if he could be a general and just shrugged it off, thinking, na, I am just a soldier. Yes, but a soldier for over 150 years! Come on Casca, I am sure you should have learned all about tactics and ways to do things. Apply that knowledge, don't just settle for being a follower.Also, he never really got the concept of Jesus. You would think he would have become a follower, seeing how he is living proof of Jesus's power.I will try book 2 and maybe book 3 to see how Barry treats Casca. I am expecting some development of this character. Not just doing the same thing for hundreds of years.
—David Dalton

Casca is the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus on the cross. Well not historically, but in this Barry Sadler novel Casca is the name given to the soldier. This series of books starts off with Jesus condeming Casca to forever be what he is until they meet again. The story line is very interesting. The character is believable. I found this book as a teen and loved it then. The language used in this novel is a little graphic from time to time (more than I should have read as a teen). For some reason I came back to this book in thought and decided to buy it. It is not in print and therefor a costly book to buy; however, if you like the audio books it is affordable in that format. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a little history mixed with fiction.
—Troy Curtis

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