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Title: The Empire of the East
Series: Book of Swords
Author: Fred Saberhagen
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Kindle digital edition
This is an omnibus edition that contains 3 short novels [probably novella's in today's world]
The Broken Lands
The Black Mountains
Basically how the West is trying to stop the encroachment of the Eastern Empire and the adventures thereof.
Taking place in a fantasy setting that quickly becomes apparent that it is actually post-apocalyptic, you get a mix of magic and tanks, etc. The story follows one young man as he goes from a farm boy to a warrior. The scale goes from one province to the Whole World.
This is the prequel stories to the Book of Swords series and I can't recommend reading this until you've read the Sword series first as it would really spoil some of the mystery in that.
However, as stories go, I found this enjoyable and it fit perfectly with the tone of the Swords series. Light on character, almost no tension and things just happen. I own the Sword books and am tempted to buy this JUST to have it on my shelf. I doubt I'll ever be re-reading this though. It is a good one off read and does answer a lot of questions posed in the Swords series.
As a standalone book, it works pretty well too. And it is infinitely more interesting than Saberhagen's Berserker series. Recommended if you liked the Sword series OR if you have no plans of ever reading them.