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Empire of Dragons

Empire of Dragons [Kindle Edition]

Valerio Massimo Manfredi
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Fast moving, epic tale of the meeting of two civilisations' -- Daily Echo

Product Description

Southern Anatolia, 260 AD The town of Edessa, a Roman outpost, is on its last legs, besieged by the Persian troops of Shapur I. Roman Emperor Licinius Valerianus agrees to meet his adversary to draw up a peace treaty, but it is only a trap and the Emperor and his twelve guards are chained and dragged away to work as prisoners in a solitary Persian turquoise mine. After months of forced labour the Emperor dies, but his guards make a daring escape lead by the heroic and enigmatic chief, Marcus Metellus Aquila. They meet a mysterious, exiled Chinese Prince, Dan Qing, and agree to safeguard his journey home to reconquest his throne from his mortal enemy, a eunuch named Wei. Thus begins the adventures of the Romans and the Prince as they journey to China. There they will discover that they aren't the first of their kind to arrive in China: they were preceded centuries before by the survivors of the 'lost legion'.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 902 KB
  • Print Length: 420 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0330438263
  • Publisher: Pan; New Ed edition (1 Oct 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0044KLPHY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,814 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Valerio Massimo Manfredi is professor of classical archaeology at Luigi Bocconi University in Milan. Further to numerous academic publications, he has published thirteen works of fiction, including the Alexander trilogy which has been translated into thirty-four languages in fifty-five countries. His novel The Last Legion was released as a major motion picture. He has written and hosted documentaries on the ancient world and has penned screenplays for cinema and television.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Novel of Two Powerful Civilisations 3 Oct 2006
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
Few authors can be better equipped to write about the history of ancient Greece and Rome than Valerio Massimo Manfredi. Professor of archaeology at the university of Milan, he has carried out many excavations and expeditions in the Mediterranean region. He has produced many factual books on historical matters, mainly military and has still found the time to write several novels and this is one of the best yet.

This book has a storyline that must surely be unique. It begins with the personal bodyguard of the Roman Emperor Publius Licinius Valerianus and their commander caught in a trap after Valerianus had agreed to meet his adversary, to negotiate peace and save the city of Edessa. However Marcus Metellus Aquila, legate of the Second Augusta Legion and his men manage to break free and find shelter at an oasis, where they meet a mysterious exiled prince. With nothing left for them, the Romans agree to become the prince's private militia and volunteer to guide him back to his homeland, China.

While they are there they see things that no other European has ever seen. They see cruelty, violence, but on the other side they see men of great intelligence and tolerance and beautiful women, unlike any of the women in Rome. But everything is at stake, even the very survival of the world's two greatest empires . . .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good thriller 25 Sep 2007
By Mr X
I thought this book was a very good thriller. I agree with others' comments who say that you will not learn much from the book about ancient Rome and/or China but that does not detract from the overall very interesting hypothesis in the book or its enjoyability.

I enjoyed the way the author writes and the fact that the pace of the story is fast-moving; he avoids spending too long on any given section of the book and his descriptive passages are just long enough to paint a good mental picture without becoming long and consequently boring.

I agree that there is little character development in the book except for the main protagonists but I don't see how the smaller characters could be better developed in the space available. Also I think the first half of the book was slightly better, but the author is more knowledgeable about ancient Rome than ancient China so perhaps this is only to be expected.

Will definitely be reading more books by this author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't write it off so easily, give it a chance. 17 July 2006
I brought this book because I was so found of the alexander series written by Valerio Massimo Manfredi and the Roman era it is set in. It isn't really historical fiction as all the characters are fictional, but it does its best to capture the essence of the period its set in to begin with.

However it soon loses this because as the story progresses the location changes from Rome to China. The story is about a commander in the Roman army who is captured, he escapes with his men to find that he must go to the ends of the earth before he can even think about returning. He finds that in even such far away place as China there are disturbing parallels between his world and theirs and that he must fight for the same cause that he left at home.

The book moves fast through just under 400 pages and doesn't linger on events for more than a chapter or so. There is little character development, except for that of Dan Qing, the Chinese prince and Metellus, The Roman Commander, and this only develops near the end of the book. I enjoyed the story and thought it was a new approach to the genre. It reminded me a little of the story of the last Samurai.

The book needed more depth and seemed rushed, especially the "last battle" which seems rather anti-climatic. The language and structure isn't very advanced and some is rather cringeworthy but you get use to it and don't notice it as the story progresses. However I did feel that the end was satisfying and leads up to a sequel oppurtunity which I would also give a chance and read.

So don't be put off by bad reviews if you like a light read with an intriguing and different story line, then give the empire of dragons a chance.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what it promises on the cover 14 Dec 2006
By Davywavy2 VINE VOICE
The idea of a novel exploring an encounter between Rome and China - the two great Empire of the classical world - is a fasncinating one. As the author says, there is evidence of a certain small amount of contact between them and there is almost certainly a place and a market for a 'what if' novel along the lines of Kim Stanley Robinson's "Years of Rice and Salt". However: you should be aware that this is not it.

It starts excellently; the author knows his Roman history and there is a clear sense of time and place in the adventures of a group of Legionnaires captured by the Persians with Emperor Valerian at Edessa in 260AD. This, however, takes more than the first half of the book, as the soldiers are condemned to slavery, escape and end up hooking up with a lost Prince of China. Whereas the first half of the book is a well-studied and interesting piece of writing, when we finally arrive in China we're suddenly in a high-kicking chop-socky spectacular.

The clash of styles is jarring.

The most awful thing is that much of the second half of the book appears to be written with half an eye to the movie rights. As you read, you can hear Hollywood script agents saying "It's high-concept! It's Roman Legions versus Wire-fu Ninjas! It's Gladiator meets Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon!" As an action film, I can see the value - the cash tills will be ringing. As a novel, it jars and doesn't convince. Used as we are to the uncompromising professionalism and stolidity of the Romans, the sudden arrival of (literally) superpowered ninja in a quasi-historical novel breaks suspension of disbelief. It's rare I put a book down without finishing it, but 60 pages from the end I had to make a conscious effort to read the painful deus-ex-machina conclusion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A really enjoyable read
Published 1 day ago by w j p finchett
5.0 out of 5 stars I've read many of his previous books and thoroughly enjoyed the read
Mr Manfredi has done it again. I've read many of his previous books and thoroughly enjoyed the read. However this time Manfredi has exceeded his own boundaries. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Shayed
5.0 out of 5 stars Empire of Dragons
Certainly not a literary classic but an extremely enjoyable read, great story line and easy to immerse yourself without having to read loads of descriptive narrative. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mark W
5.0 out of 5 stars Empire of the Dragons
This a great book, like this writer . This is a Great story, I read a lot of Roman historical stories this is different loved it.
Published 13 months ago by joe cilmi
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read.
Probably his best book in my opinion. It has all of the elements required of an adventure story. There is triumph and tragedy, love and combat, happiness and sadness as well as... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Arvadal
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Another Great book from this auther always gripping with a great story strong characters twists and turns that makes you want to just keep on reading and you loose all track of... Read more
Published on 15 Nov 2012 by Jeffrey W. Turner
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fair read
This is a worthy attempt to construct a novel around a well known but unproven mystery of the ancient world whereby roman soldiers settled in the western part of China. Read more
Published on 16 Aug 2011 by Lee Hanley
EMPIRE OF DRAGONS Dr. Valerio Massimo Manfredi 2006

Dr. Valerio Massimo Manfredi, is a very eminent Italian historian and the Professor of Classical Archaeology at the... Read more
Published on 2 Aug 2011 by BlackBrigand
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting mixture
I enjoy Manfredi's historical fiction. This novel combines the empires of Rome and China and their totally different world views. A very different and novel approach to a plot
Published on 1 July 2009 by B. Carney
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to his best
In this novel Manfredi mergers 2 giants in history, Rome and China, and writes a gripping novel. Unlike his fact/fiction books, this is entirely fictional, but even so this is on a... Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2008 by chuckles
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