Olga Godim's Reviews > Eagle En Garde

Eagle En Garde by Olga Godim
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(Review from the author)

This is not a review - I don't review my own books. This is a conversation I had with the novel's protagonist, a mercenary officer Darin Barclay. The story follows his adventure during the summer he turned twenty-four. By that time, he’s already been a lieutenant of the Eagles for five years, with a hundred men under his command. His promotion to an officer, when he was only nineteen, was unusually quick. I asked him: “How did it happen? It’s not in the book.” Below is his reply.
No, it’s not in the book. And yes, it was quick. I was the youngest lieutenant in the company’s history. But it was a tragic story, and I don’t talk about it much. That’s why it’s not in the book. I mutinied. My mutiny saved ninety of my comrades and killed eight of them.
I was still a soldier of the Eagles at the time. Our phalange was under contract to deal with the pirates who harassed the coastal villages. The pirates learned about our coming and prepared a trap. First, they ambushed us, and seven of our men, including our lieutenant, were gravely wounded. We left them with a healer in the foothills of the mountains, in a camp, with most of out food and gear, and pursued the pirates into the caves, but that was a trap too. They collapsed the entrance to the caves, so we couldn’t get out.
We wandered the caves for several days and almost lost hope. Ninety of us, hungry, thirsty and terrified. Our supply of oil for the torches was almost gone. Then I found a possible way out. It was blocked by another, older landslide. Of we pushed all those rocks out, we could free ourselves. But there was a catch: our camp with the wounded was directly beneath that blockade. I could see it through the gaps.
I told our leader, the sub-lieutenant, but he refused to act. He said he couldn’t give the order and condemn our wounded to a certain death. But I knew if we didn’t get out soon, all of us would die in those caves. Ninety vs. eight is a clear math, especially for a military commander, but only an officer could give that order. So I said: “If you’re afraid to face the consequences, I refuse to obey you. I’ll assume the command and give the order.” I was already on track for promotion, and all our guys trusted me. He stepped aside and let me command the mission, but it was a mutiny on my part, and it resulted in all the wounded killed…by us, by the avalanche we created when we pushed those rocks out.
We got out and destroyed the pirates, but everyone knew what happened. I felt responsible. Eight people died because of me, seven wounded and the healer. I had to pay the price. I returned home with everyone else and told the Captain. Mutiny is punished severely by any military organization, and I knew what I faced. The Captain ordered me flogged – 40 lashes. It’s the harshest punishment under the Eagles’ Code and it’s almost never used. Many of the men were unhappy about it; they considered me a hero, but I wasn’t one. A hero sacrifices his own life. I sacrificed the wounded. I deserved retribution.
After the punishment, while I still stood in front of all my friends, with my back bloody from the whip, the captain promoted me. He said I had the courage to make the right decision, the decision that should’ve been made by an officer. The only problem was: I didn’t have the rights to make it. So he gave me those rights retroactively.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 8, 2014 – Shelved

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