Soldier of Rome: The Legionary by James Mace
Rome’s Vengeance In the year A.D. 9, three Roman Legions under Quintilius Varus were betrayed by the Germanic war chief, Arminius, and destroyed in the forest known as Teutoburger Wald. Six years later Rome is finally ready to unleash Her vengeance on the barbarians. The Emperor Tiberius has sent his adopted son, Germanicus Caesar, into Germania with an army of forty-thousand legionaries. The come not on a mission of conquest, but one of annihilation. With them is a young legionary named Artorius. For him the war is a personal vendetta; a chance to avenge his brother, who was killed in Teutoburger Wald. In Germania Arminius knows the Romans are coming. He realizes that the only way to fight the legions is through deceit, cunning, and plenty of well-placed brute force. In truth he is leery of Germanicus, knowing that he was trained to be a master of war by the Emperor himself. The entire Roman Empire held its collective breath as Germanicus and Arminius faced each other in what would become the most brutal and savage campaign the world had seen in a generation; a campaign that could only end in a holocaust of fire and blood. (Blurb from back of book).
Before I go further into reviewing this book, I am going to say, it’s a “guys” book. No fancy schmancy romantic war ideas, no going back to a tear stained love interest who was waiting for him to come back home or silly sappy love drama to make you cringe, etc etc you get the hint. This is full on brutal war descriptions, with the emphasis on brotherhood and fighting together against all odds.
The author did a really good job with his homework in making this book as historically accurate as possible, even providing footnotes, and where he got them from. I liked the amount of historical detail put into this book so every little moment was easily pictured, and descriptions of Roman military tactics, their weapons, and how they fought was well written. The plot was simple, and although it has been done before, it still served as a good basic story to introduce Artorius to the reader.
His development as a soldier was well done, although one could only assume the worst as it seemed that Artorius just got more angrier throughout the novel. The other characters in the book served as just supporting cast, although I wish there was more to them – although some had distinct personalities (Valens with his women, Magnus and his Northern ancestry) I wish there was just more development with them as I wanted to know more about these other characters too. It is a brutal book, battle scenes are written with extreme detail and the amount of violence is high. Although realistic because war is never something to be taken lightly, the sheer brutality of it described in this book may deter the readers from reading this.
The only other criticism I could see, is some readers might thing the testosterone level in this book really reaches its’ limits. It might be a turn off for some, I didn’t mind as it did seem obvious this book does cater to the male demographic. (Let’s just say, Artorius turns out to be a very very frustrated man, har har).
I thought it was very well done, and I want to keep reading the rest of this series. I’d like to know what happens next! I greatly recommend this to others who are fond of military history, or who love a good book about Ancient Rome.
I give it an 8 out of 10.
PS: Thanks to Tracee for letting me participate in the blog tour, and to the author for providing me a copy of this great book!