The Rider with the Golden Torc
Sons of a minor noble, Estrios and his brother dream of the glory on the battlefield. When the largest empire of their time sends a great army to invade their lands, they are called upon to stand against overwhelming odds and certain death. Estrios and his brother must survive the march to the coast while being pursued by a relentless rider bearing a golden torc. Failure means witnessing everything that they hold dear being laid to waste by the Elahkarian Empire and their subjects.
*Note: there is no magic in this story*
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Ever wondered how your grandpa's Vietnam stories would have sounded like if he told them in Ancient Greece? This is it.
I have nothing but compliments for the author. The choice of words is rich, and the descriptions truly shine during moments of battle. You'll be on the edge of your seat during the most heated fight scenes. Every combat is also unique, despite the amount of action packing the novel.
Little to no typos. There's nothing to be said.
It's a coming-of-age tale of two brothers who depart to battle for their Polis. The story follows the surprisingly reliable main character's perspective.
The story is actually really simple and easy to follow. The beauty of the plot comes from how the main character reacts to the many events that follow his path to the battlefield, specially the death of a loved one.
The Main Character not only becomes stronger, he also grows as the story progresses.
Some choices made for the sake of realism (such as having the antagonist speak a foreign language) may have costed the characters some development. The names are also realistic greek names: long and perfect for language butchering. While I applaud the author's bold choice to make these realistic decisions, I do wish the awesome antagonist were more than his horse and the iconic golden torc. Yet I must understand: it's war. We never know the story of the person at the other end of the sword.
There are plenty of characters and maybe a couple more than there should be if the novel was not the memoirs of warrior. After all, without a cast, who would fill the battlefield and make us care if they live or die?
Rider of the Golden Torc is one of those little gems that make me feel a bit ashamed of the Royal Road Legends community. How come, amidst all the mud that we brush and adore, we fail to see this shining unique example of an amazing novel?
Wow, wow, wow. This novel just blows me away. Incredibly well done, TheResonantWordsmith, this one will definitely be on my favorites list. A full run through:
Style score: Perhaps the best thing about your writing is the way that it puts me right on the scene. The past comes alive, the characters jump right out, and you have a deep, rich choice of words that, as Media in Sanity says 'truly shines during moments of action'. It's very fast paced, but never rushed, the words weighed amazingly well and the dialogue incredibly realistic. Everything comes together so beautifully, so flawlessly, and it grabs me.
Grammar score: Barely any mistakes that I noticed. I'm not an english teacher, but your grammar is impecable. With the exception of the occasional missing comma, you're really fine. But don't use this as an excuse not to edit- it will annoy readers if you let too much slip.
Story score: The story itself is amazing. The details make it very fresh and real, and it's amazingly well-researched and gives us great insight into the battles and lives of the warriors. The plot is incredible, although very simple and easy to follow. Like most battle stories, there is death and sorrow, but also great joy and growth as the main character learns to conquer his fears and come to a new understanding of fighting.
Character score: Your characters are very realistic, and strong too. They are real people, with strengths, flaws, and real motivations, something strangely lacking in most modern fictions. Media in Sanity pretty much said exactly what I wanted to say here, though- the villian doesn't make a lot of sense. I guess it is a battle, and you're not always going to see the other side of the story, which is completely okay. But it did kind of distance me at first.
Please, if you're reading this, give it a try. This will blow you away.
Style 4.5/5: Fast paced and with a crystal-clear writing style, the dialogue, marching scenes and battles are all pacey and punchy. It’s an interesting question, when you model your setting on a specific time and country, (Ancient Greece for this story) how much should the characters sound like they are from the place in question? The author goes for readability rather than rigid adherence to the setting, and the characters speak like contemporary Americans.
Grammar 4.5/5: All perfectly fine. There are a few typos, but nothing that detracts from the reading experience.
Story 5/5: The story is simple and compelling. A naïve young soldier with a hot temper gets to learn the realities of battle and experience bereavement. The backstory, with Estrios’ brothers, his father’s debt and Estrios' rivalry with his sweetheart’s brother are woven seamlessly into the story, and the showdown with the Golden Torc rider is well built up.
Character 4/5: Something which I praise the author for is his realistic handling of the characters’ understanding of life and death. The boys go off to war naively assuming they are too young to die – the older men really grasp that they might not return. Estrios is a well worked main character and the supporting characters all have distinctive and memorable personalities. To cite a few, their tyrant and his indecisiveness, Kyron, who can put aside petty rivalries when it really matters, Klysestes with his capacity to be generous if it suits him and Estrianes, Estrios’ obnoxious little brother (so sad…)
Overall 4.5/5: Well worth reading, you can actually learn new things as well as be entertained. The author has industriously researched Bronze Age history and the realities of warfare and woven them both seamlessly into the narrative. Both stuff I already knew (e.g. taking rings as plunder, psychological development in young men) and things I have learned by reading this (use of iron and bronze in weapons and armour).
Read to completion. First, that’s a wonderful thing to be able to say about a work, it was posted here to completion. The style is excellent, the action is wonderful, and the technical writing is easily within the top 10% of this site. It’s not written in the common tone of web-lit, but rather takes a more Classic (big C) approach. While prose, if put into a rhythmic form, it could easily pass as an epyllion (a short epic poem—think mini-epic).
I only have two detractions, and that is only because I view the work so highly. I wish there were parts that made me think, challenged morality, or made a deeper overall point. This is pure hard hitting action cover-to-cover, which is certainly pleasing, but left me yearning for something a little more mentally engaging.
The other demerit is a lack of depth in the core group of characters. I’m not looking for more exposition, but more opportunities for foils to engage the MC so that we can see their depth.
A great work that I would recommend to anyone, and I look forward to future work by this author.
If you're looking for a power fantasy litrpg, this ain't it. But, if you're looking for good writing about historical fiction, check it out. That's all I've got since it's early.
good grammar. strong voice. yup
This is part of a review exchange.
The author does a few things really well. His grasp of tactics and history puts him head and heels over most of the writer on this site. If you're looking for a story which places you in a world of battling city-states like ancient Greece look no further, this is the story you've been looking for!
Personally, I like a little poetry in my words, but I found the style serviceable and uncluttered. The pose was to the point, leaving no room for confusion.
No complaints here. Great job.
It got off to a rocky start. It began much too slowly for my liking, but when it got going around chapter 5 everything started coming together with a little more punch. My advice to the author is to read Take Off Your Pants! by Libbie Hawker. Your mc never had a moral flaw he had to overcome and it didn't get a sense of a theme, and those things are important if you ever mean to publish one day.
And I think you have the talent to become a published author if you want to.
I really enjoyed how you were not afraid to kill off your characters, it added a sense of realness to the whole thing. Well, that and the way you described your battles. In the beginning, the characters felt a little thin, but they got flushed out as the story progressed. A write of the first few chapters would fix this problem, that and giving your mc a character flaw besides his fear.
A solid 4.
Thanks for sharing.
A complete work right of the bat! Not only that it is an engaging story with strong characters and setting.
The ResonantWordsmith lived up to his name. The author's voice is clear and distinctive. This is tough to do in a novel with so much action, but the author was even able to keep the novel's most action pacted scenes clear and focused.
I'd recommend his one for the writing alone.
I read this book as part of a review exchange but stayed for the enjoyment of it!
The author has some very long-winded descriptions that bog down the writing. I suggest he take a look at "filler words". It is nothing that can not be easily fixed with some revising. The story starts slow but builds up as it moves forward.
Good nothing stood out to me. But then again grammar is not my strong suit.
The story follows a boy going to fight in his first battle. Very easy to follow. What makes it fun is the description and events along the way. The battle descriptions are done very well.
The characters were developed nicely. It was quite the journey we followed them along for.
Great story, very well researched. The only complaint would be to tighten up the writing so the reader can get a more visceral feel for what is going on.
Its a slow start but it builds up. Give it a chance!
An average novel for me would be 3 stars, this would be a novel that needs no major rewrites, it makes sense and it’s readable. Check mark to the Golden Torc. In theory I would deduct one star for one major rewrite. Thus, three stars remains because it needs no major rewriting (minor editing is fine because that’s part of the reason we post online). There was the one awkward dialogue for me, but that was because the story requires me to actually read it and not skim it.
It entered the four star tier in all categories because not only did it have no flaws and was fully readable it was coherent. The chapters followed one another logically and it was engaging.
It entered 4.5 stars when the author’s juicy vocabulary and brilliant writing style was accounted for.
It entered 5 stars when the first thing I felt when the story was over was regret. Regret that I had finished reading it. Regret that I still remembered it and I couldn’t read it again. A Wordsmith indeed, a black belt in Wordsmithing.
The story is flawless. Do I have some recommendations? None that I would call improvements on the author’s work. Here is an example of what I would call irrelevant improvements:
I think Greek names are hard to read. The story would appeal to more people if it was more modernized.
Such a comment can be paraphrased like this: I don’t like the genre. Make it into my genre.
It can be good advice, but anything like this I would not deduct a star or call for a rewrite. Calling this story too historical would be like calling a Sherlock Holmes novel too mysterious… It would be just stupid. I did recommend perhaps changing names to more modern things or altering some of the wording to suit a more unfamiliar audience, but that is irrelevant to the quality of the story and more has to do with the appeal of the story. Besides, the language gap is not that high. I think the author has essentially done the best that he could do. And objectively it stands head and tail above many works on this site. And objectively the author has not just written a random work of literature. He has written a damn fine story. So what if I didn't even know what a torc was till like the end of the book! I didn't need to know!!! One great story is what it is. One I recommended the readers of my own fiction to read. Well done good sir, well done.
Oh boy, what a pleasure it has been. This is a truly good story in all four categories. Utterly entertaining, populated by characters whose motivations and flaws are vividly conveyed through action, dialogue and, in the case of the main character, thought (since this is a first-person narration).
Despite a few very minor issues that can be solved by an editing pass, the writing is flawless and at times beatiful and even poetic. It's also very detailed. I appreciated the descriptions of weapons, armor, and the like, since I'm not very knowledgeable about that stuff so the writing style helped me visualize everything (these details turn to be often important as the story develops). The names the author chose for people and places also sound perfect for this story.
Among the things that I utterly loved there is the humor which manifests itself in the teasing between brothers and friends, especially in the first half of the fiction, but also pops up at times in the second half. The characters are well delineated and they seem lifelike. "I don't pretend to know these things", the main character says near the beginning, and this is an authentic voice, far from the all-knowing heroes of other stories who are always certain of everyting. There are also a couple of narrator insertions that I loved where the main character who is narrating the story many years later expresses his views and feelings. All of this is masterfully done.
The author mentions in one of the chatper intros that the story starts with "a bit of a slow burn" but then "it picks up in a big way". And he's absolutely right. Enjoy the first chapters for the characterization and description; the action will come, and when it comes, it will be glorious.
There is only one thing that struck me as odd in the story, besides the minor stuff I mentioned in the beginning. There's a point where it seems that there will be magic (some kind of enchantment perhaps?) but this suggestion goes nowhere. This is an utterly realistic story, devoid of any magical or supernatural events.
I recommend this fiction to everyone. It's not perfect (nothing is!), but it's a damn fine story, and I'm pretty sure most readers will enjoy it.