Thinking about Conan has made me remember all sorts of the books that they had in the back of the library near the young adult fiction paperback section (for some reason). The Gor Books, The Executioner, The Death Dealer, The Destroyer… and, this one. Casca: The Eternal Mercenary.
Casca Longinus is just a soldier and never learned any non-soldiering skills. He was also a soldier who happened to be assigned to Golgotha around 30 A.D. He was also the guy who thrust his spear into the side of the guy in the middle of the three guys who got the death penalty one Good Friday. “Soldier, you are content with what you are. Then that you shall remain until we meet again. As I go now to my father, you must one day come to me”, he’s told.
At which point this becomes a story about a soldier who is fated to stay alive until The End Of The World. There are stories that take place all over the world and all over time. Ancient Rome, Machiavelli’s Rome. Rome during WWII. There’s South America during the time of the Aztecs, and North America during the time of the Vikings, the Confederacy, and Manifest Destiny. We see Casca fight for the French under Napoleon, we see him fight for the French under the Foreign Legion. There are Mongols, Pirates, and Normans.
Sadly, it looks like only the first and second books are available from the Barry Sadler website and there’s a huge gap until you get to book #25. The books seem to be out of print, sadly, but they show up fairly regularly in used book stores and Goodwills and you may be lucky to get away with one for only a few bucks. (It seems they show up in the strangest places.) They don’t need to be read in chronological order (but it helps). Pick them up, if you can find them. You might be embarassed, but you won’t be disappointed.
So that’s my recommendation for you this week.