The Acts of Androkles
by Ryan English
Elevator pitch: '300' meets 'Lone Wolf and Cub'. A retired veteran has to keep some orphans from being eaten by horrible monsters.
This fiction contains the professionally-published novel Obstacles as well as the ongoing sequels.
Back Cover Copy:
Androkles, son of Paramonos, spent twenty-five years in the world’s greatest army trying to earn enough money to buy back his good name. He’s battle-scarred, weary, and heartbroken after decades of watching dear friends die, but he survived. He’s ready to retire and be welcomed as a hero, finally able to see the reward he sacrificed so much to achieve.
There’s only one problem: his wife just fled civilization with all his hard-won savings. Now he must pursue her north, through desperate bandits, ravening beasts, and worse. But after he rescues a pair of orphans from starvation, he is faced with his most difficult challenge yet: a question that goes to the very heart of honor. The consequences might be deeper than he realizes, and it’s not just his life on the line…
Updates: Irregular but Ongoing
Book title in the chapter heading.
If you like what you're reading, please consider
purchasing a copy of the published novel Obstacles:
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This story follows Androkles. After returning from war, to find his wife has just left with all the money he earned fighting for two and a half decades, he swears an oath to find her.
However, no man is immune to the whims of the gods, nor the whispers of the shadows within his own mind, regardless of how tall and mighty you are.
"Obstacles" is set in the ancient Greek world, except the existence of fantasy creatures and the gods is a little bit more guaranteed.
Androkles quest to find his wife and bring her to justice is constantly impeded, right from the very start. All the people he could have relied on are dead from fighting, and he is without a single coin to his name.
After selling his shirt and shield, and setting out on the road, he meets two small beastkin children, starving and lost.
The gods themselves seem set on stopping Androkles entirely.
I rate the story as of chapter 16 as extremely well done, as it clearly outlines the actual plot, and who our main character is.
The character himself is also done well, as he is written as you would expect from a man from ancient Greece; sexist, racist and aggressive by today's standards, and completely normal by ancient Greek standards. However, the writer stops him from being aggravating and unlikeable to read about by making it clear that Androkles only is like this because it is all he knows, and it is all that society is. Androkles is not actually glad or upset about the state of the world, merely indifferent to what he has always known.
Despite Androkles reminders to anyone who doubts him, he is not actually a god in mortal flesh and as such, cannot be renamed Mary Sue.
Other characters in the story are written how they are described and are not cardboard cut-outs.
There are no racy sex-scenes (currently) which is a good thing for a story like this, where it could be so easy to find an excuse to put them in, as it shows the author is more concerned with providing an interesting story for the audience rather than satisfying his own lustful itch.
And perhaps the best evidence I can give is that the author has made this into a proper book that you can buy. That means somewhere, some guy who was hired for his sole ability to judge a good story, said;
"this is good, let's publish this."
So. Give it a try. You won't regret it. If you do, you probably also read fanfic on wattpad.
I love Androkles. Fearless, relentless, strong and proud-- he's a true warrior. A man of the Glories. This all serves him well as long as his problems can be solved with violence. (And many of them can be!) But what I really love is seeing this mighty man wrestle with challenges where his 'very particular set of skills' aren't much help-- like playing daddy to a growing brood of castoffs and misfits. This book is a terrific, highly entertaining read. But it's also a true-to-life portrait of a flawed man trying to do the right thing. I can't wait to read book 2!
Formally compelling, gramatically perfect, storywise and characterwise basically a shonen light novel combined with greek mythos with an effective use of tear jerking. I was bawling like a baby at some of the stories and smiling with pride as Androkles slowly became a dad. And the pacing is just right.
Author uses it as a preview of his work, and what a work it is. It is in my mind without a doubt one of the best novels published on this site.
Absurdely good story overall, very enjoyable. Im surprised, that a story of this quality level, is being posted on royalroad at all, you just dont find this good stories here normally.
This story follows the soldier Androkles, who after returning triumphantly from a war, comes home to find his wife has left him, and took all the money he had saved over decades, money that was meant to return his family to its old glory. He swears a oath, to find his wife, no matter what it takes and thus sets out on his quest. All those he could count among his friends are dead, having been slain in the many wars they have partaken in, so he is alone in his quest to find his wife. Yet nothing is as simple as it looks at first, for there are many obstacles in his path. He finds a couple of starving lost orphans and decides to save them and after that it only gets worse, there are bandits, slavers, monsters and even the gods themselves who love messing with mortals, and currently he is one of those they spend special attention to.
Amazing characters, i am really liking Androkles and how he is written. I dont often find mature characters to read about, but this story is different, and oh boy, he does act like a true Man. He is seriously the best part about this entire story. A man that has known many battles, that holds himself to his honor, to his oaths. A man who can be a Hero at times. He is written like a strong, badass character that has a lot of knowledge about the world, and that really shows itself in the story, but he is also not perfect, he cannot beat everything in a fight. Still he is seriously skilled. Yet he is not without feelings, withot compassion for others.
Other characters are nicely done, but this story is mainly about the MC.
And seriously, a good warning is that this is a different world, where civilization in general is not as refined, and the author does show that in this story. Just like you would expect from their real life Ancient Greek counterparts, Androkles and his people see their own people as better than anyone else, superior to the barbarians and the less civilized people that inhabit the rest of the world. Yet let that not scare you, the author knew what he was doing with making a MC like this, Androkles just does not know enough about the world as a whole to have a different opinion, he treats it as something normal thats part of how the world is. And once again, its fitting to have characters behaving like that in a story like this.
This story is set in a world set around Ancient Greece and the known (and unknown) classical world. But make no mistake, this is not a simple world, there are monsters who roam the lands, being a danger to the inhabitants, the gods watch from their realms, intervening in mortal affairs when they feel like it, and at times, deciding to walk on the world itself. There are heroes who commit great deeds, making themselves immortal in stories written about them.
Im seriously liking the plot so far, the author has nicely done that, without making it feel cliched at all. The fact that this story has a Ancient setting, gives it so much more potentional, and the author has capitalized on that with making his own spin on the world, making it kind of unique, yet still strongly resembling the Ancient greek one.
So far book 1 was already great, sort of slowish start, but then kicked off fast, and then theres the climax of epic portions. Book 2 has been showing to be even better overall, but nothing is sure yet, i however have a lot of faith in the author to be able to continue this already great story, and making it even better.
Extremely good grammar, this story is professionally edited, and that does show very well, there are absolutely no spelling mistakes to be found so far in this story, just one minor thing is that at times, the word choice is quite odd, but other than that, i have no problems at all with this story, its essentially on published level quality.
The author is a skilled writer, and that does show in the writing style used for this story. The story as a whole, is very readable, with no problems at all. It is likely that a reader will be instantly hooked to the story after the start, the story is just that enjoyable to read, to discover just what happens next. Great pacing that feels about right for the story, not too fast, but neither too slow. The worldbuilding here is delivered in a nice way, small bits of it along with the story, which build up the world while also not being too slow at delivering new information. The author can convey emotions, feeling quite well through his writing, and that does certainly show with some of the chapters in this story, they are just so well written in general. Good detailed scenes in general without overdoing it, a reader can imagine it all playing out from time to time.
Something i noticed is, that at times, there are small inconsistencies with the story, but to be fair, its so well written, that those barely do matter at all.
I plainly have to thank the author, for even doing something as daring as sharing a already published story on a plaform like royalroad where the story is free. And to add on that, it is posted in published quality here.
This is wholeheartly recommended, theres just nothing to dislike about this story. Anyone who is a fan of Fantasy in general is invited to read this. Those who like Greek Epics can find themselves a new favorite in this story. Seriously do not wait anymore, its a amazing story.
First off this is a professionally written story and you can tell, no grammatical errors the story flows well and the pacing is great.
The novel is written as a adventure story with a unique ancient greek setting mixed with greek mythos/fantasy elements.
The characters feel and act like real people each having their own motivations and believes. No novel can stand on setting alone and here the characters shine bright and bring out emotions from the reader.
All in all the novel is great and i encourage people to give it a chance. I know i will be keeping a keen eye on future releases.
(as of Doubts 3.2)
The wife ran away with all the money that should have restored the family name, blaming the protagonist for their unhappy marriage and lack of children. While this is the framework for the story, it is by no means the main content. This story is about what happens during Androkles' pursuit of her, about who he meets on the way and how his sore personality changes over time.
Style: The story is told in third-person internal style from Androkles' point of view. How the tale is crafted, with rich word choice and how the story flows from one event to the next is excellently done.
Story: Full of strength like an ox, deep with manly emotions and relentlessly striving against 'Obstacles' (name of the first arc) that would make a lesser man weep, this is a tale about events the world hasn't seen since the Battle of Thermopylae. Well, it feels really monumental but perhaps it's just those old myths being kindled in my memory. The story at the least feels powerful, with excellent descriptions drawing you inside and the plot inexorably pushing forward with just the right amount of pacing to make you struggle for breath without overpowering you. This can really be called "proper literature".
Grammar: Excellent. Am I really on RRL?
Characters: The protagonist's character is shown in depth and his description and conduct is complex and exquisitely written. To a modern human Androkles feels a bit strange but that is a sign of how the author captured the personality of somebody from Ancient Greece (at least according to the old myths: "My oath is more important than my life" and barely restrained aggressiveness as the first option in most situation). Androkles cares deeply for his forefathers' undying souls and his family's endangered legacy, bemoaning his fate and cursing the gods he blames for his lot like the ancient heroes in the tragedies. His thoughts often go to his fallen comrades and at the beginning of the story he is a lone wolf, bitter and bereft of all he had. But later, due to his encounters, some dried-up emotions start to grow. The other characters are each described with their own realistic personality as well; the good guys are very likeable and the antagonists adequately nasty.
Other rating categories:
Suspense (higher is often better, but it depends of the type of the story): 4/5
Predictability (lower is usually better but too low is bordering on madness): 3/5
Fun (do I laugh out loud while reading or at least chuckle? A low score is not bad, just different): 2/5
Happiness (does this story create happy feelings? NOT a higher-is-better score): 2.5/5
Sexual content (NOT higher-is-better. I usually prefer less of it, but others might want more): 1/5
Many RRL authors publish their works; quite a number of those stories might sell okay but will not capture the masses. This story, with its excellent quality, doesn't have to hide behind anything. I'm glad I had the opportunity to find it here.
These books pull no punches and definitely put the protagonist through the wringer, but the depths of the troubles into which Androkles and his makeshift family fall just makes his rise even more awesome and inspiring. The end of Book 1 made me stand up and cheer. Repeatedly. The beginning of Book 2, like a habanero eating contest, is an exquisitely delicious pain. Can’t wait for the next installment.
Alright so I have the same last name as the author. Coincidence? Not really. I read his first book a while ago, and absolutely loved it! This is honestly one of my favorite fantasy series ever.
Now that we're into book two, I'm literally sitting on the refresh button every Tuesday and Friday. Can't get enough.
Androkles finally returns home after a life of war to enjoy his retirement, only to discover that his wife and the gods have conspired to give him his greatest adventure yet!
Watch him as he travels the barbarian lands without much more than his honour, rejoice as he finds out to his surprise than a life of blood and cruelty hasn't changed his heart into stone!
The writing is of professional quality and the story is without plotholes. A must read imo.
I usually wouldn't write a review that doesn't add to the three pages of deserved compliments already available here, but I laughed and cried with Androkles and this story must have all the recognition it can get!
Anyone not reading this is doing themselves a disservice. Calling it among the best of royal road is an insult, this doesn't even belong here. It is a great book and I'm a richer person after having read it.