Casca 34: Devil's Horseman, Tony Robert

Casca 34: Devil's Horseman, Tony Robert

This entry in the Casca series sees our hero join the Mongol army about to invade Europe at the start of the campaign that saw them overrun Russia and Poland and defeat a massive Hungarian army at the Saja River. At the same time as it is advancing west the horde is split by rivalry between the descendents of Ghengiz Khan, all jostling for position as they prepare for the death of Ogatai Khan, son of Ghengiz and khan of khans.

In an earlier entry in the series Casca was involved in the creation of the Mongol Empire, becoming something of a celebrity. As a result he gets dragged into the succession dispute, guarding a precious artefact. The rivals' attempts to steal this form one part of the plot, while the campaign itself forms the other.

The end of the campaign is rather shortened, ignoring the raids in the following year that saw Mongol scouts reach Vienna (probably wisely, as this would have been a bit of an anticlimax). The description of the Mongol armies is nicely done, reflecting the way in which they absorbed new military technologies as they conquered new armies, becoming a more sophisticated and mixed army than is generally believed. Roberts also does a good job of making it clear that the Mongols were outnumbered at the Saja River, and didn't rely on massive numbers to overwhelm their opponents. 

This is an entertaining novel, effectively combining a coherent plot with a fictionalised account of a campaign that saw of Europe briefly threatened with conquest from east.

The book is also available from the Casca Website


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