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Barry Sadler's Casca: The Liberator (Barry…
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Barry Sadler's Casca: The Liberator (Barry Sadler's Casca)

by Paul Dengelegi

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Cursed by Christ on Golgotha, condemned to outlive the ages, and wander the globe as a constant soldier. Forever fighting, surviving, waiting for Him to return. When pirates sink the merchant ship he's traveling on, Casca becomes trapped within the wreckage and dragged to the bottom of the Atlantic, where his immortal curse continues to keep him alive even as he drowns. Years later, he is rescued by African fishermen who believe Casca to be their legendary god of the sea returning to liberate their village from the tyranny of a madman. Feeling indebted to the villagers for rescuing him, the eternal Mercenary prepares to confront the insane despot.… (more)

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Dr Dengelegi is to be applauded for keeping the Casca story alive but I feel that on balance it would have been best if he had not written his two books as they are rather poor in comparison. There are five points to be raised about the Liberator as an example:

Firstly, the character of Casca is amazingly passive. Sadler wrote Casca as an action figure, a decisive man which was what made Casca the success it was. This Casca is too ponderous, thought-wracked and indecisive. It simply isn't Casca.

Secondly the volume of the book is too much; the success of Casca was to rattle through with action. Remember who the target readership are, a turgid and ponderous plot that repeats itself with copious feasting is not what we casca fans wish to read. What next, Casca The Obese?

Thirdly if anyone writes a historical novel, even if its fictional, you must get the history right. Its no good writing a book, for example, set in the American Civil War where General Jackson wins the battle of Gettysburg in 1856 for the Confederates. Its not accurate history and makes a mockery of the historical setting. Dr Dengelegi in this instance makes a right mess of things by having Europeans being contracted by an African tribesman to bring a bride to his king. The setting of this story is between the years 1434-1440 and Europe was not even aware of Benin existing at that time, let alone having an African contact them (how, I ask, did this tribesman in fact contact them anyway??). Its implausible.

Fourthly when continuing a Casca series, you must be mindful of previous novels in the same series. Dr Dengelegi did not which is a cardinal sin. He has Casca at the end of the book on deck of Vasco da Gama's ship on the voyage to India which was in 1497; in the Conquistador by Barry Sadler Casca was a prisoner in Seville between 1485 and 1517. This was unforgiveable.

Fifthly there were many irrelevencies in the story and I feel that the publishers did not take the trouble to edit it which is a pity as about 40 pages could have been taken out without much trouble without affecting the overall storyline, a reduction of something like 15% of the volume.

A poor offering for people who expected greater things.

For more Casca see www.casca.net ( )
1 vote | Cascawebsite | Mar 4, 2008 |
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