Zurga the Wanderer had been lured into a trap. Bound skillfully and blindfolded, the Captors transported him by cart many days south of Hattusus. How he wished he could summon two young protégé living in Pylos, on the great inland sea! A homing pigeon arrived with a note for Orfeo and Clarice. The message bore the imprint of Zurga's ring, but was written by someone else. Zurga must be rescued from those bearing him south to Babylon. To avoid discovery, the pair opted for disguises. Separately, Orfeo joined a company of traders following the northern route into the great city. Clarice chose to arrive from the south. Disguised as a young male entertainer, she released a band of girls who would be sold as slaves. They became her loyal troop, providing entrance to the court of Babylon's emperor, Nurim Sin.
Nurim Sin heard about the volcanic eruption that Zurga created to destroy the island of Thera. The emperor wanted the secret, which Zurga denied possessing, in order to plunder northern cities. Orfeo arrived in time to overcome a guard before Zurga could be killed. They escaped with the guard's valuable sword and fled north. Can ballads save Clarice once more? Will the northern tribes follow young Orfeo's leadership? Is Zurga, at ninety, the last Wanderer?
The author is clearly knowledgeable about the ancient lands and tribes of the middle east. Under his skillful telling, the Orfeo saga is somewhere between fantasy and historical fiction. Book Two is populated with a wealth of new characters. Major players from Book One are retained, along with references back to the Six of Kalamatta. The mix of old and new, along with a dramatic beginning, should entice new readership while pleasing Orfeo fans. More of a recap at the end might be helpful for first-timers.
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