Ancient Rome, Roman history, gladiators. This novel has them all. So it comes as no surprise to learn that Dino De Laurentiis, producer of Gladiator, wants to make the film of this historical epic by the author of the bestselling Alexander Trilogy. Set in the twilight years of the Roman Empire, a band of British Roman soldiers try to save the decadent crumbling Empire by rescuing Romulus Augustus, the young son of the last Emperor, and installing him as the figurehead of a rejuvenated Empire. But it all comes to nothing and they return to Britain where further adventures await them. Stirring, atmospheric and factually accurate historical fiction (the author is an archaeologist and historian) that certainly makes the most of the current interest in Roman adventures, Hollywood style.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The story opens on the day that the Western Roman Empire collapses finally in 470AD, as the Last Emperor of Rome is encamped protected by the Nova Invicta Legion. All is lost in the space of a few minutes as a horde of Barbarians sweep through the camp in the fog, kill the Imperial family and take the young Emperor captive. The Roman Empire is in ruins... But all is not lost. From the dust of battlefields emerges a small team of invincible warriors - The Last Legion. Their task is to rescue the Emperor and his enigmatic tutor and to try and resurrect the glory of Rome. All their strength of character and bravery come into play as they guide the last Caesar in a dramatic journey of escape through a devastated Italy and Northern Europe to their ultimate destinies in the land of the Britons... and the beginning of a new legend.
Yes, if you are looking for a historically accurate acount of the fall of Rome and it's last emperor then this isn't it. But Manfredi accepts that in his notes at the back of the book. As other reviewers have stated this book can almost be split into halfs. The first half of the book is concerned with the plight of Romulus and how he is going to be rescued then the second half follows the flight of the heros (and heroin to be politically correct). Some saw this half the book as a bad movie script with an easily discernable plot. Although you can guess that they will reach their destination it is thrilling to find out how they overcome the various obstacles. The presentation of Aurelius as a hero with dark secret in his past is refreshing as he isn't a perfect hero. The ending also comes under scrutiny as it links in with Arthurian legend. What you must remember when reading this ending is that it is fiction and it is a beautiful lead into the legendary kings tale. After all Geoffrey Monmouth's version in 14th century of Arthur as a Knight in shining armour is far less accurate then this ending is. It is a very easy read although i suppose you do have to let the words wash over you a bit as the translation can make the speech seem very American movie-esque. There is bad language so any parents might want to note this before reading/buying for their children. It's not my favourite Manfredi (that's Spartan) but a good read regardless
I quite liked this book. Fast paced, dramatically set in the last glimmers of the Roman Empire. It makes a fascinating read, if not an historically accurate one (the timing whit byzantine history is all wrong)But,hey, it could be read as alternate history,surely! All in all, an entertaining story.
This book is quite an entertaining read, and is certainly much better than the film that was released recently. Not his strongest and unlike his other historical novels this is nearly all fiction. However this is still worth a read, and do not judge it on the film!