“FOUR NAILS” by G.J.BERGER
Once upon a time, there was a young Indian boy…an elephant trainer… named Ashoka. Forced into slavery to help his family survive, he became known an “elephant whisperer” of sorts, after successfully training Four Nails, an unusually enormous, wild elephant. He eventually became head mahout in Hannibal’s army as they marched to war against the Romans.
In 218 BC, 28 year old Hannibal Barca, his soldiers and his 37 African battle elephants marched on an epic journey from southern Spain to the plains of northern Italy. To surprise the Roman Empire’s army, though, he took an unexpected route to Rome by crossing the Alps.
In a saga told by Ashoka, we read what the world would have been like then…fiction and fact woven together, sprinkled with love between a human and an elephant. Massively researched, GJ Berger’s writing immersed me in an ancient, distant, foreign culture making me fully invested in the outcome of Ashoka and his companions (both human and animal.)
The battle scenes were especially riveting and written with a well-balanced amount of strategic description as well as vivid imagery, but I think this was more of a coming of age tale (and a big, thick tale it was) because we saw Ashoka rise from an inexperienced and innocent 11 year old boy to a knowledgeable, honest, emotionally mature, ethical man. I traveled a journey, experiencing both personal triumph and tragedy…captivated by it from beginning to end!
If you love historical fiction and elephants, this book is for you! Most unusual…