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Men of Bronze

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  659 ratings  ·  41 reviews
It is 526 B.C. and the empire of the Pharaohs is dying, crushed by the weight of its own antiquity. Decay riddles its cities, infects its aristocracy, and weakens its armies. While across the expanse of Sinai, like jackals drawn to carrion, the forces of the King of Persia watch and wait. Leading the fight to preserve the soul of Egypt is Hasdrabal Barca, Pharaoh’s deadlie ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 483 pages
Published July 2006 by Medallion Press (first published 2005)
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Mark Longden Much like every ancient history book refers to "Egypt", despite it not coming into existence in any meaningful sense til centuries later? Seems a weir…moreMuch like every ancient history book refers to "Egypt", despite it not coming into existence in any meaningful sense til centuries later? Seems a weird thing to get hung up on. (less)

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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  659 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is actually marketed as historical fiction but I don't have that label in my list. Besides, the book reminds me quite a bit of the historical fiction that Robert E. Howard wrote, and there isn't a large leap from that to Howard's more fantasy tales of Conan and Kull.

Oden does do a great job with the history here, though, and he has a real feel for the age of the pharaohs. His hero, Barca, is as tough a hombre as you're likely to meet anywhere in historical fiction or heroic fantasy.
Men of Bronze was highly entertaining for me because of the intense brutal action...but also because it depicted a fictional representation of life for Egyptians, Phoenicians, Persians, and Greeks during the 5th century B.C.-something not depicted often enough in today's Roman-bloated historical fiction market. ;)

The pace of the story was a little strange with intense action during the first half, followed by a long plateau setting up events for more intense action at the end. Quite enjoyable th
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hasdrabal Barca the Phoenician is a commander of Pharaoh's Medjay, his elite (if somewhat disreputable) mercenary fighting force in the 6th century BCE. (n.b. -- I first encounted the term "Medjay" in the 1999 Brendan Fraser Mummy movie, but thought it was a mispronunciation of "Magi" that they had just made up for the movie; only years later did I learn that the Medjay were a real thing, even if their primary duties were less concerned with mummy-suppression than the film led me to believe.) Wh ...more
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-general
This action-packed historical fiction book is about Barca, a rage-filled mercenary working in the service of the Pharaoh and entrusted with protecting Egypt from encroaching Greeks and Persians. It reads a great deal like the swashbuckling historicals of Robert E. Howard and Harold Lamb, so fans of the action pulp tradition will find a lot to like here.

Characters are sketched in broad strokes, but the main ones are given enough nuance to keep them from seeming shallow. The pacing is brisk throug
Feb 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
My main reason to pick this book was the setting which is Egypt, a rare occurrence in Historical Fiction. However it fails to save this book from falling into a cliche filled plot with predictable twists and altogether unconvincing writing.

Plot Set in the ancient Egypt, Men of Bronze focuses on the conflict between Egypt and it's neighbours Greece and Persia. Barca the Phoenician leader of the most elite Mercenary the Pharoh has at his disposal serves as the protagonist for a very forgettable s
Sep 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Did not enjoy as much as his book, Memnon. It had too much love story going on for my taste. ...more
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The setting was well-researched, the descriptions were imaginative, and I was greatly interested in the character's fate.
The best aspect, though, was the action. The action in this book comes frequently and unflinchingly, and in a wide variety: individual duels, prison tortures, street brawls, small skirmishes, large scale battles. This book has all the sword-and-shield fighting one could want, and it never felt stale or repetitive. Another thing I appreciated is
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book about this time period, 26th Dynasty of Egypt, 500s BC. Interesting story involving Egyptians, their Greek mercenaries and a "border patrol" of mercenaries led by the Phoenician protagonist, Hasdrabal Barca, against Bedouins and then Persians, the latter aided by the treacherous Greek mercenaries. There were many battle scenes, much treachery, double-dealing, and bloodshed. I felt another important part of the story was the character development of the protagonist. Barca, twenty ...more
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite military historical novels as it really gets at how war can warp the soul, but offers the possibility of redemption, as well. Plus it's set in the Archaic Age (not the Classical) which is a time period we hear less about. Oden has done his homework, too, and writes about ethnicities that we tend to hear less about, and from angles not often treated (he does the same thing in MEMNON).

Paul McNamee
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great historical epic, rich in details from daily life to battlefield carnage. Setups and payoffs work well from the opening skirmish, through the political intrigue through to the crescendo of the final battle.
I had high hopes for this book but found myself losing interest toward the end of part one, before I even got to the first big battle. The character development just wasn't enough for me to feel invested in the rest of the book and it couldn't hold my attention at all.
I didn't get a feel for the Egyptian/Greek/Persian setting either, it almost read like it could have been set anywhere in the ancient world.

But if you are a fan of epic battles and good writing, I can still recommend it. It just wa
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Scott Oden is one of the best of the current crop of historical novelists today. MEN OF BRONZE starts out with action and continues right on never flagging in interest. He has a mix of historical accuracy combined with an old fashioned pulp sense of action. Set during the eve of the Persian invasion of Egypt and the intrigues and then battles, you hope the hero will triumph. This book leaves you wanting more.
A very good debut and a historical book i enjoyed very much.

Well done characters,quality vivid action,historical realism wise solid.
Adam Lofthouse
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book will always be special to me, as it was one of the very first that got me into historical fiction. In Barca, Scott has created a character that is immediately likeable, and as the story develops and you learn more of his past and what drives him, you root for him more and more. It’s been 12 years or so since I first read this book, and I still have a strong mental image of Barca, can still find an edge to his voice.
Scott is a real master at setting the scene, once he has finished guidi
Gary Peterson
Jan 30, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is a pretty good book, its historical / fictional meshing make it a fun read for those who enjoy both like myself. Although I think the author obsessed a little to much on the sexual exploits in the book, true it is no secret during this time moral values were not strong, the author only achieves belittling himself in his desire for over description in sex. Over all a fun read.
Rusty Wright
Didn't finish it. Libraries are great; I check out piles of books and then I don't bother finishing the ones that don't grab me. I can tell if a book is worth finishing within the first several dozen pages. ...more
Sep 10, 2007 rated it it was ok
No. Just... no.
Mar 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was surprisingly engaging for me-I say that because usually books centered around war and violence aren't my usual thing but I had a hard time putting this down. There was a lot of violence and gore-this is set in Ancient Egypt during the Persian era of supremacy (think Cyrus and Darius)- but the characters (especially the mercenary general Barca and the Greek merchant Callisthenes) were so engaging and the political intrigue was captivating. I loved reading the excerpts after the story tha ...more
I liked the history and the depictions of battles. The historical atmosphere was so-so for things that didn't involve fighting and I didn't quite warm to the characters, especially the sole female character. But the story was interesting and the book was engaging overall. ...more
Paul Lavender
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read a lot of historical fiction in my time, Bernard Cornwell, Ben Kane and Mathew Harffy amongst many. I can safely say that Scott Oden is up there with the best of them.
Men of Bronze is a cracking read that will appeal to many fans of historical fiction.
Ståle Gismervik
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The second Scott Oden book I've read. Men of Bronze is set in Egypt and Palestine. I'm not really the greatest fan of historical fiction, but this was a really good book. I had a hard time putting it away.

Fast paced and fun.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the 3rd. book I have read by Scott Oden and like the previous, Men of Bronze is fast paced, lots of action and great characters. Loved this book.
Yashesh Bhansali
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolute masterpiece. If u enjoy historical fiction,you definitely don't wanna miss this. ...more
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: greek-military
I liked this one; the action progresses well. I might fault it for some lack of character nuance, but overall, I thought it delivered well.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
What a mission
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
bought this book in 2010, I think. I started reading it but abandoned it. I always intended to get back to it, one day. It took awhile, though. What spurred me was the fact that I decided to rebuy it in epub, to replace the pdf copy I bought in 2010. And I am glad I did.
One word can describe this book: Epic. At times, it felt almost like I was reading fantasy novel, with minium of magic. This isn't fantasy, but Historical fiction. This isn't my favorite genre, since it often involves bloody, g
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
It is 526 B.C. and the Egyptian Empire is under attack not only from foreign Persian aggressors, but from treachery within its own borders as well. When Hasdrubal Barca, a mercenary in service to the pharaoh, learns of a treasonous plot, he uses his years of military experience and expertise in an attempt to save Egypt from invasion.

Political strife, riveting battle scenes, haunting regrets, betrayal, love and revenge…this historical fiction encompasses them all. The battle scenes were so well
Jonathon Laudinsky
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-best
526 BC - Egypt - Weakened from centuries of decay and threatened by the growing power of the Persian Empire pressing its borders, the land of the Pharoahs sits on the verge of collapse. A deadly Phoenician mercenary and his elite group of men stand determined to defend Egypt against not only its foreign enemies, but those plotting within the royal palace itself

Read in 2009 and again in 2016.

Had the same effect on me as it did all those years ago. The two parts that made up the book felt like tw
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans, fans of ancient warfare and politics
I was sucked into this book the very first time I opened it. I just couldn't put it down! The first paragraph paints such a beautiful and vivid picture. It was clear to me that Scott Oden did a lot of research for this book. I've owned two copies of this book, because I lend it to anyone who asks me if I have any good reading suggestions. This is always at the top of my list.
I love how there is something for every mood, in this book. There is action, history, romance... everything one could wan
Marlene Teixeira
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What I love about historical fiction is the ability authors have to write history with their personal touch, incorporate their theories of historical events, make historical characters breathe again and all of this with probable events.
In history we may not know what happened exactly, what did they do, or who they were, but we can imagine events most likely to have happened. In historical fiction genre well written does that and teaches people history in a funnier way to retain details.
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Scott Oden was born in Indiana, but has spent most of his life shuffling between his home in rural North Alabama, a Hobbit hole in Middle-earth, and some sketchy tavern in the Hyborian Age. He is an avid reader of fantasy and ancient history, a collector of swords, and a player of tabletop role-playing games. When not writing, he can be found walking his two dogs or doting over his lovely wife, Sh ...more

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