By: Murray Lee Eiland, Jr.
Publication Date: November 2015
Reviewed by: Anita Lock
Date: February 2017
Book Three of the Orfeo Saga shines a light on past civilizations of nomads and city dwellers during the heroic age of Greece.
In the third installment of The Orfeo Saga, the barbaric Hannae are on the move. Their persistent attacks, killing people and pillaging town after town has a curious aftereffect: no booty. It's not until the invasion of the town of Megara that the Achians and Dorrae outdo the Hannae. Under the command of Orfeo, a Hannae warrior is taken captive. Interrogating the soldier, Orfeo learns of the reason behind the Hannae's relentless assaults and lack of booty: the Getae, "masters of the great grasslands west and north of the smaller inland sea." The Getae use the Hannae to do their bidding—to kill, to collect and relinquish all booty, and to capture as many slaves as possible.
Bayanu, Getae's ruler, believes that when slaves have "all been returned to their rightful place under their Getae masters, then the world would blossom forth, and the grass would last forever." With world domination as their ultimate goal, the Getae determine their next attack will be the Achians. Orfeo, Telemon, Clarice, Daryush, and King Kiros believe the best way to penetrate the Getae is to send a spy. Daryush volunteers for the job and wastes no time busily collecting information about the Getae and getting acquainted with Bayanu and his daughter Semina. When Daryush doesn't report back, the Achians have no choice but to organize for the Getae's dreaded attack.
One could easily assume that a historical fiction/fantasy story about ancient civilizations in southeastern Europe would be nothing less that heavily doused with data. Not so with Eiland's third book of his Orfeo Saga. This reviewer was pleasantly surprised to find his storyline to be particularly light and easy to follow, especially considering that there was no prior knowledge of books one and two. Key to the book's readability is Eiland's formatting. Divided into four books and set within brief chapters, Eiland tells the tale of a group of people desperately devising plans to overthrow the evil Bayanu and his Getae tribe.
Eiland's plot, set approximately during the 3rd century BC, brims with a wide array of colorful fictional characters, many of which are warriors. Front and center is Eiland's protagonist, Orfeo, who exemplifies all the wonderful attributes one would expect from a true warrior. Amid the well thought out casting, Eiland punctuates a flurry of history and geography throughout. Aficionados will especially appreciate Eiland's historical note at the close of the book, which makes common connections to geological areas (i.e., the Great River/the Danube, Inland Sea/the Black Sea) and includes information on the mysterious Getae and the plausibility of historical stories associated with this powerful tribe.
Quill says: Zurga's Fire carries broad reader appeal for both history and fantasy enthusiasts.