I, Barbarian - Reviewed by Dave Ritzlin

In the introduction to this edition, Jakes says that he was strongly influenced by Edison Marshall, and I don’t doubt that at all. This is the story of James the Frank, a half-European/half-Mongol who becomes a soldier in Genghis Kahn’s army. He falls in love with Cho Soo, a Cathayan princess enslaved by James’ arch nemesis Hargoutai the Falcon. There’s plenty of action and the story moves along quickly. It’s much better than I was expecting, considering the stories I’ve read about Jakes’ popular character Brak are just generic sword and sorcery.

I enjoyed it but probably won’t reread it. I would be interested in reading the original version for comparison, which apparently had a great deal of purple prose. Jakes says “a few tons of adjectives and adverbs have disappeared” while editing the new version.