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An Ancient World Comes to Life - an Editorial Review of "The Walk of the Wandering Man"

Book Blurb:

Central Europe, 5000BC. The first farmers are advancing across the continent from the east. The age of the hunter-gatherer in Europe is drawing to a close.

When a young, Mesolithic hunter is sent into the winter forest, he has no way of knowing his rite of passage will be different from those who had gone before.

But the gods have other plans.

Beyond the brutal wilderness, his path will lead him to a different people. People from distant lands, moving ever closer to his. And as his journey takes him further into their world, the plight of a child and a young girl will show him where his true purpose lies - deep in the heart of a conflict as old as mankind.

Against a backdrop of beauty and horror, of compassion and genocide, his is a journey that might have been our own; a coming of age and rise of conscience that marked the dawn of a new era.

Author Bio:

Ric Szabo was born in Sydney, Australia, and serves in various capacities for wildlife and fisheries authorities. Short stories of his have appeared in Wet Ink and Page 17.

​The Walk of the Wandering Man is his first novel. His second is now complete and is due for release in 2021. ​

Editorial Review:

The Ancestors, the boy had been taught, passed their memories on. Their joy could be so rich, their pain so deep, that traces carried through the generations. The feeling of having been somewhere before, or having events relived, bore clues. Take heed and they would let him know his calling in life, show him his true home. Heed not and there may always be a longing in the heart.

It is not often in historical fiction to come across a book about the ancient world in Europe, a story which takes place in and around the year of 5000 B.C., since, for the most part, historical records are not available to the historical fiction author, thus what is available is morphed into a fictional story about the lives and events which formed the foundation of the cultures of the areas across the world. Mr Szabo has gifted historical fiction fans, those who love the time period, and fans of the well-loved stories by Jean M. Auel – The Clan of the Cave Bear – a beautiful and remarkable story with well-defined themes and characters.

There are no words for what we run from. It is a curse that covers the skin like something that lives and plays games to see who will live and who will not. It cannot be fought with weapons or medicine. People-of-the-Longhomes bring it with them, then they finish what it does not. So we go with what is left of us. Their gods are stronger than ours, Illawann man. Pray they are more merciful to you than they were to us.”

Set during the time when change was imminent, when farmers are beginning to set down roots and work the land as opposed to the former hunter-gatherer way of life, we are introduced to Vratu, a young hunter teetering on manhood and whose ritualistic 'walk' into the next phase of his life (in order to prove himself ready to take a wife) brings him across a stark wilderness and in contact with a different people and way of life. These people are infringing closer and closer to his own tribe, threatening their way of life with their own. Yet, Vratu learns something different about these people, a lesson in looking past prejudice and discovering the commonality of different cultures, and learning to live together in peace with acceptance.

It was pointless trying to explain certain things to young people, he thought. Well did he recognise the justness of his son's warning. But when a man had spent his entire life planning, his entire life worrying about the consequences of his decisions, he had earned the right to throw caution to the wind once in a while.

When Vratu stumbles upon a lost boy and girl, he takes up their plight on his own shoulders and the lessons he will learn will change his life forever. Vratu's journey is one which resonates throughout all history, that of facing inner conflicts as well as outer ones, of the complete annihilation of a people as has been done again and again in history, and what it means to show true compassion, as well as assimilating into a new culture. Vratu's story is a coming-of-age saga, a quite complex spiritual and moral quest which will resonate in the hearts of the readers, and the world-building skills of the author is remarkable, as well as the unique voice and writing style which truly brings a reader into this ancient world. All of the ancient customs, beliefs, and traditions are woven into the narrative in an outstanding way, so much so that the reader is gifted an educational thought-provoking experience along with the entertainment value of this novel. While a quite lengthy novel, this is one to savor and take your time in reading, letting the words saturate your soul as the narrative threads through your heart and mind. The time taken is well worth the effort and you will not be disappointed.

If you are a man of good heart, then you will cry more for what you lose than what you have never owned. If you are man of honor, then you will right your own wrongs before seeking vengeance on others. If you are man of your people, expect those closest to your heart to bring you the most pain. And if you are as blind as all men, the day will come when you will shun the man who would do you good, you will doubt his word when he speaks nothing but truth, and if you do not know him at the time, you will surely know him when he is gone, if for no other reason than the hole he will leave in your heart. “Tonight, I shall tell you the story of the man who taught me all these things.... I knew him... when he was Vratu of the Illawann.”


The Walk of the Wandering Man” by Ric Szabo receives five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company


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