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Review: Promised Valley War by Ron Fritsch

Blood has been shed in wars for many reasons. Sometimes it’s pride, quarrels over land, jealousy, revenge, disagreements or misunderstandings. Sometimes it’s over love or hate or ignorance.

In Promised Valley War, the stakes increase from the stage that was set in Promised Valley Rebellion with the upstart young Blue Sky, son of the great warrior Green Field, a close friend of the valley king, Tall Oak. It is Blue Sky’s love for another man that is the foundation of the problems, not because of the illicitness of a man loving a man, but because of a valley man loving a man of the hated hill people. Wandering Star, his lover, was an exile of the hill people and yet maintained a strangely close relationship with their king, Lightning Spear. Both tribes were driven by what they believed were the wishes of the gods for their people.

In Promised Valley War, the blame for the troubles that ensue come from two directions. First, the weakness in the chain that Blue Sky and Wandering Star’s relationship brought to bear. And second, the reluctance of the older leaders of the valley people to recognize another weak link – an area of land that Blue Sky stressed needed to be armed to protect the people.

The result of these weaknesses led to the abduction of the valley prince, Morning Sun, and his mate, Rose Leaf. Rose Leaf had been the princess of the hill people, but was snatched as an infant in a skirmish between the valley and hill people and raised as Blue Sky’s sister. The kidnapping of a prince had to be avenged and the valley people and hill people soon found themselves in an all out war.

Arrogance of the valley people, who had for all intents, been the mightier of the two tribes, resulted in a series of miscalculations, both to the capabilities of the hill people as well as their numbers. The war that followed created a bloodbath for each side as military tactics among these prehistoric people find one side, and then the other, with the upper hand. The result among the leaders after much bloodshed was that while there had been many battles, the pain and torment to the people of both tribes resulted in no victor. The emptiness of battle becomes the lesson learned.

Even among prehistoric people, the military strategy as it plays out portrays a civilization that is both simple yet sophisticated. Stratagems on the battlefield give the story a realism that’s gritty and surprising. The element of healing tea becomes a tie that binds the two tribes together, allegorically speaking. It’s the valley people who have been the seemingly more advanced as a people, but it’s the hill people’s special tea that helps to heal the injured in both camps.

The characters are well-defined and the story tightly woven with a deftness that’s fluid and engaging. Would that lessons presented here could be achieved by mankind without the need for more violence and loss of life. Would that there had only been the need for one war ever in mankind’s history. The victory here, though, is in a lesson that supersedes ego and points to a true hero not as the one who kills the most, but the one who knows when to call an end to bloodshed.

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See Also – Review: Promised Valley Rebellion