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The Eternal Mercenary (Casca #1)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  787 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
When they flew Casey into the hospital at Nha Trang, the medics were sure he’d die. That he didn’t was only the first surprise.

The second, bigger one, was that Casey had been fighting for two thousand years, ever since that day on Golgotha when he put his lance into the side of the Man on the Cross.

“Soldier, you are content with what you are. Then that you shall remain
Published (first published January 1st 1979)
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Apr 06, 2007 Tucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could not get enough of this series when I was in younger. For a fifth grade boy, what is cooler than a series about an immortal mercenary killing & sexing his way through the centuries? Yeah, that's right, not much. Alright, for clarification, a fifth grade chunky nerd boy.
Colin McKay Miller
Apr 17, 2016 Colin McKay Miller rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bros who like flexing while reading
Barry Sadler’s The Eternal Mercenary’s cringe-worthy moments overshadow the pulp entertainment.

You know that Jesus fella? Son of God, crucified for the sins of the world, rose from the dead? Yeah, that guy. Well, the Bible records a Roman soldier piercing His side with a spear to make sure He was dead. In The Eternal Mercenary, that’s the main character, Casca. In this series, Jesus condemns Casca to remain as a soldier until the Second Coming. Casca can feel pain, but he can’t die. The Eternal
David Dalton
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 b
Mark C. Jackson
Wonderful! Pleasantly surprised with this author and his book! I loved his music, and his bravery and patriotism, but this expands that respect and admiration. He puts, in my opinion, a new facet into historical-fiction novels.

The writing is smooth, and easy to understand and follow, even the Latin portions. There are not a lot of characters or sub-story lines to follow, so that allows the reader to stay attentive. He is articulate and imaginative. I found myself actually looking forward to book
Troy Curtis
Jan 19, 2009 Troy Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Nov 24, 2009 Justin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Justin by: Alex Korkishko
This story is quite amazing. Casca Rufio Longinus is the Roman soldier who pierced Jesus' side with a spear. For this, he is cursed with immortality. This book spans the first 130 years following his curse, much of it spent in slavery. Part of Casca's curse is that he'll always be a soldier, too. The rest of the series focuses on different points in military history all across the world, from ancient times to the present.

What strikes me about the story is the bittersweetness. He establishes frie
Jul 13, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bravo! What a great idea and finely crafted stoiry. I have prowled internet sites and book stores to collect all the paperbacks in the series written by Barry Sadler. I have 20 of the 22 and will complete them all. If Casca nust wait....I will bide with him.
Nicholas Karpuk
Casca is straight up pulpy shlock. It's non-apologetic about it, and keeps a decent pace, which are probably the only things I'll find to compliment this book on.

Certainly not the prose, which is functional at best. The book has many occasions where 70's slang wreck the suspension of disbelief in this Roman-era story. I know we don't know how people actually sounded in the first few centuries of Rome, but the least an author can do is try to minimize how much the characters sound like people fro
Feb 25, 2017 Aaron rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, bleh
Ugh. I would recommend this book only to casual racists, misogynists, and people who enjoy doing what they are told. The historical facts were interesting but it sometimes felt like I was reading a textbook on Roman military tactics (and who wants facts in a story based on medieval legends?) and Sadler's mix of quasi-archaic dialogue with distinctly modern phrases was off-putting. Just re-watch Spartacus or Ben-Hur instead of reading this.
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
Jan 14, 2013 Jeffery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeff Powers
Everything that made pulps bad, (the rampant sexism, the casual racism, etc.) makes this book hard to read. But everything that made pulp great, make this book hard to put down. It can be hard to get past some of the characters despicable views on other characters (as to whether these are the views of the author as well, I don't know) but they also lend some credence to the character of Casca. He isn't likable and yet he makes for an intriguing protagonist. Cursed to live until Christ's return, ...more
Aug 15, 2014 Francisco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Busqué este libro por años y esperaba un libro ligero de aventuras, que te apena confesar que lees porque sabes es una historieta para adultos, mi lado snob se manifestaba culpable. Pero llegó el día en que casualmente lo encuentro en Kindle Unlimited. Y lo devoré y quiero leer los 23 de Barry Sadler, como me dio con el Sharpe de Cornwell. Más profundo en su personaje de lo que esperaba, dotado de complejidad de trama y pensamiento, es un clásico para mi. El soldado romano Casca Rufius Longinus ...more
Jan 08, 2009 Curtiss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In these tales, Casca Longinus was or rather IS the centurion who speared Christ on Golgotha, mainly as a gesture of pity to spare Jesus the long agonizing death which was the typical fate of those who were crucified. And for this act Christ "condemned" Casca to effectively eternal life, saying "as you are content to be a soldier, so shall you remain ... until the time of my return" on Judgement Day.

A good start to a satisfyingly brutal series of stories, in this case "satisfyingly" is actually
Mar 07, 2010 Ralph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ret
M- S__
Dec 06, 2013 M- S__ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not without its faults. Pretty blatant racism/sexism. A pretty terrible plot device here or there. But its premise (immortal cursed-by-jesus warrior travels the world being immortal and being a warrior) just clicks with my inner pubescent history nerd so hard. I had this same connection with H. Rider Haggard, though HRH can occasionally write pretty beautiful prose. Sometimes you just have to enjoy books for how much fun you have reading them. If the premise appeals to you, the writ ...more
Oct 09, 2015 Wayne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in a long running series like this is either hit or miss, and I think this one missed the mark, but only a bit. I would have to read a few other books to see how this all starts to play out.
One of the odd things I found in this book is the dialogue. When you think of ancient Rome, you don't expect to hear the soldiers talking about getting a piece of a**. Or calling people scum. These year zero A.D. people were talking like they came from the streets of any big U.S.A. city from th
Jim A
Apr 07, 2014 Jim A rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I first read this series back in the early 80's. It was right in line with the action thrillers of the time, Don Pendleton et al type novels.

My tastes have changed quite a bit since then. While I have enjoyed going back to the action thrillers of the past, this was not one of them.

The only redeeming feature of this read was it was a Prime Borrow For Free from Amazon. I would not have been happy with myself if I had paid the $10 to buy it just to reminisce.
Jul 31, 2014 Billie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first "Missed my flight home" book. Coming off of reading "The Dogs of War" I was totally fascinated with the concept of a doomed to live Mercenary. I enjoyed the book for its insight in to what its like to be an "immortal" The battles in the arena were done ok. I ended up reading four more of the series. No new ones in at least 15 years I'd still recommend for a quick Sunday afternoon/evening read.
Timothy Boyd
Apr 28, 2015 Timothy Boyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So you just a soldier doing your job. You shove a spear tip into the side of this supposed messiah, except he is the real thing. He curses you to wander the earth till his return. Not bad right, immortality and all. Oh but he also curses you to be a soldier forever at war, never to know peace. This is the story of Casca the Roman legionnaire that stabbed Christ. Forever wandering the earth fighting one war after another. Great adventure series. Very recommended
Oct 22, 2016 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Got a lot of love for the Casca books - UK editions discovered while browsing in 2nd hand bookshops! Casca Longinus is the Roman legionary who stuck the spear into the side of Christ after the cruficixion. He is doomed to walk the earth until the 2nd coming. an intriguing idea which Barry Sadler, a Vietnam-era green beret, uses as a starting point for an immortal adventure. It's simple, fantasy, stuff but the storytelling is workmanlike and there is a real imagination here.
Unique story line-- a Roman soldier who is "cursed" by Jesus on the cross to live as a soldier until Jesus' second coming. But...terrible writing. However, like a poorly made mega-action flick, I was entertained nonetheless. :) There's like a million books in the series, though-- and I'm not sure I'll bother to read another one.
Frank Pinelander
Have read five in the series.

A light, quick read, hard to put down as they move quickly.

I like the premise, and find the motif interesting - sort of a Forrest Gump that goes through history, making significant changes by who he is and what he does.

A former Navy Diver friend turned me onto these. He and his det mates even used to read them underwater, on those long boring rides in a SDV.
Ralph Carlson
Feb 02, 2017 Ralph Carlson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have wanted to read a Casca novel for years but never got around to it until now. I had to get it in Kindle as the original paperbacks are quite expensive. Wish I had bought them when they were published. But anyway, glad I finally got around to reading one as I found it quite enjoyable. Will be buying the second book soon.
I read this years ago when I was younger. It still embraces a train of thought that is very intriguing to me. What did happen to the centurion who was in charge of Christ's crucifixion? Well worth your time!
Candi Harris
Aug 11, 2009 Candi Harris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend who's in the military turned me on to this series. I loved the first one and would love to read the rest, but they are almost impossible to find at a decent price. I'd definitely read the rest if I could.
Robert Morganbesser
A fine beginning

While the language is a little too modern, the story of a Roman soldier cursed to remain a soldier until he meets Jesus again - is a lot of fun. I hope the entire series will be made available for kindle.
Dec 24, 2008 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mens-adventure
The first in the series about a mercenary, who was once a Roman Soldier, who lives forever and is always at war. It's a great idea, deserving the four stars, but the writing is not quite as good as that.
Nicole Brainard
Sep 21, 2013 Nicole Brainard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read! I really enjoyed the author's take on the Crucifixion. Those that are very religious may not appreciate Sadler's creativity regarding Christ. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and others in the series when I can find them!
Tom Haynes
This is a long series of maybe, twenty book episodes, by Sgt Barry Sadler of "Green Beret" song fame. Quite a unique slant on this story which is in a few other reviews. I enjoyed this and may read some of the sequals.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

American author, musician and former green beret.

To the general public he is most known for the hit single "Ballad of the green berets"

After his musical career he decided to write a series of novels centered around the character "Casca Rufio Longinius" Who is cursed for pi
More about Barry Sadler...

Other Books in the Series

Casca (1 - 10 of 42 books)
  • God of Death (Casca, #2)
  • The War Lord (Casca, #3)
  • Panzer Soldier (Casca, #4)
  • The Barbarian (Casca, #5)
  • The Persian (Casca, #6)
  • The Damned (Casca, #7)
  • Soldier of Fortune (Casca, #8)
  • The Sentinel (Casca, #9)
  • The Conquistador (Casca, #10)
  • The Legionnaire (Casca, #11)

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