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The Last Legion [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Valerio Massimo Manfredi
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Jan 2003
A brilliant new historical epic from the best-selling author of The Alexander Trilogy. As the Western Roman Empire begins to collapses in 470AD, a small band of British Roman soldiers, make a long and arduous journey to Rome. They arrive to find the city on the edge of chaos, over-run with rebellion, not far from destruction. Despite the tumultuous events around them, they resolve to continue their mission: to keep the spirit of Empire alive by rescuing the young son of the last Emperor, Romulus Augustus. A daring rescue ensures and, hearing rumours of an entire Legion of the Roman Army that has remained loyal to Rome, they begin a trek across Northern Europe to find them. By finding the Legion, and establishing the boy as the legitimate Emperor, the Romans believe an uprising can be launched and the Empire revived. But the journey is futile, the Legion is nowhere to be found and they find themselves quickly losing heart. Deciding to turn back to Britain, they cross the channel in defeat, little knowing the mysterious revelations and magical destinies that await them on their return.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio Books (17 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405006609
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405006606
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 10.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,685,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description


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.

About the Author

Valerio Massimo Manfredi is an Italian historian and archaeologist and was voted Man of the Year 1999 by the American Biographical Institute. Manfredi's books have been translated into several languages. He is the author of the enormously successful ALEXANDER trilogy.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historic accuracy - who cares? A good yarn 21 May 2006
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
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining historical fiction 5 Feb 2004
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than the film 22 Oct 2008
By chuckles VINE VOICE
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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivatingly Brilliant 4 April 2007
By J. Chippindale TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Few authors can be better equipped to write about the subject of Rome and its Legions than Manfredi. Professor of archaeology at the 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 of them.

The story begins the day that the Roman Empire collapses and the eternal city itself is being over-run. In the weeks before the final collapse some British Romano soldiers have reached the city with the express task of rescuing the young son of the last Emperor Romulus Augustus, these are the men of The last Legion . . .

They are there to protect and guide the last emperor on a journey that takes them across Europe to the shores of Britain and into legend.

I found the book exciting and exhilarating. It was another one I did not want to end.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise; squandered story-telling 22 Jan 2004
By A Customer
I looked forward to reading this as it is a sadly neglected period of history (and historical fiction). The 1st third of the book was fine but thereafter I forced myself to finish the book. The latter third of the book I found very irritating.
I found the translation poor tending to use Italian forms of English renditions of classical names (if that makes sense). The grasp of the history was sadly superficial and I came across numerous inaccuracies presumably kept to keep the story flowing or to humour the ignorance of the reader (and the author).
It started off OK but I felt the book was a disappointment; the various events of the time have been squandered in a rather vain attempt to link the collapse of the Western Roman Empire with the rise of Arthurian Britain. Oh well, overambitious. I have been put off from reading his Alexander books (I think these have probably been better written by other authors).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't suspend your disbelief! 1 Feb 2010
I enjoy imaginative re-takes on the Arthurian Legends - but this one is a model of how not to do it. First make up a bunch of cardboard characters, then place them in a succession of impossible situations with a "Jim'll Fix It" approach to getting yourself (the author) out of the four diametrically opposite corners you have simultaneously painted yourself into (what else is magic for?). Motivation? Careful plotting? Not for Manfredi in this load of hokum. And finally, get yourself a translator, preferably one for whom neither Italian nor English is the mother tongue, and who chooses from the options she finds in an Italian-English dictionary by closing her eyes and jabbing with her husband's magic ball-point pen. Bound to be a winner...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read 28 May 2006
i found this by accident down my local library.

thought it was a truly great story and read cant wait to see the film thats being made at the moment.

as good as iggullden and scarrow
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frivolous fun 27 Dec 2006
Overall this was a fine read, which sustained one's interest through 400+ pages. It is, however, laden with numerous typical modern fiction resonances such as the overused themes of freedom and revenge, and the tough warrior woman (Livia; compare Xena) and the friendly black (one-time) gladiator (Batiatus; compare Draba in "Spartacus" and Juba in "Gladiator"). Although it is perhaps more than unfair in general to point out historical mistakes in a work of fiction, especially one that has fantasy elements in it, the author's credentials as a historian and archaeologists are emphasized and he himself makes a note at the end of the novel of his use of various historical sources; therefore I will make a few points about inacuracies and anachronisms. The Emperor Romulus was not taken to Capri but to the villa of Lucullus near Naples (where he may have remained for decades, along with his mother). Arthur (and not his father) was said (in one late source only) to have fought at Mount Badon (which would have occurred around A.D. 500 and not shortly after A.D. 476), defeating Anglo-Saxons (and not Wortigern). Stirrups (p. 65) are first known from China around the third century but did not reach the West until about the eighth century. Pumpkins (pp. 107 and 115-116) are a new world product, though some sort of squash may here be meant (as in the standard translations of Seneca's 'Pumpkinification of Claudius'). And it is difficult to believe that the admiralty in Misenus signaled hours with bells (pp. 115 and 117), something unknown until centuries later (note that this is a standard anachronism in Shakespeare's Roman plays, as in, for instance, 'Antony and Cleopatra' 3.13). Much of these points are no doubt little more than tiresome nitpicking but I would have been more satisfied if the author had been able to meld what is found of Romulus in the sources with what is found of Arthur in the sources in a more convincing manner.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read
If you wish to get into reading Valerio Massimo Manfredi, I recommend this as a starter. However, very poor screen adaption as with all great reads the silver screen version is... Read more
Published 10 days ago by El Tel Cornwall
5.0 out of 5 stars Super story teller
I enjoy books where I can be a "fly on the wall," watch and listen what is going on and forget my surroundings - this is one of those books.
Published 7 months ago by Mr. P. R. Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars A throughly good read.
A book worth reading, both for female and male readers. I only wish the film makers had included a larger slice of the book to make the story of the movie more rounded. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs. Gillian E. Marriott
5.0 out of 5 stars One off the best books ive read........ Ever !
I was lucky enough to read this book with out seeing the film first and have to say its one of the best tales of Rome and its impact on the world Ive read. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dru Lucas
3.0 out of 5 stars Has its ups and downs
There are things I really liked about the book and things I didn't. What I WILL say for potential readers is that the film they made from it bears virtually no resemblance to the... Read more
Published on 18 Jan 2012 by SJATurney
4.0 out of 5 stars Speculative historical fiction but a cracking good read
THE LAST LEGION Dr. Valerio Massimo Manfredi 2003

Dr. Valerio Massimo Manfredi, a very eminent Italian historian and the Professor of Classical Archaeology at the... Read more
Published on 30 July 2011 by BlackBrigand
1.0 out of 5 stars Tripe
I'm flabbergasted by the 4 and 5 star reviews for The Last Legion. I agree whole-heartedly with the 1-star reviews. If possible I'd give it ZERO star! Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2011 by Blue Bottle
5.0 out of 5 stars The one that became a film
Another great read by Manfredi. I can certainly see why 'Hollywood' came calling for this one. It has all the elements - love, honour, betrayal, a secret from the past - which film... Read more
Published on 16 Dec 2009 by Mr. Noel Newman
4.0 out of 5 stars Great villans
This book is thoroughly enjoyable. What a great story and so much better than the film which cuts most of the book out. Read more
Published on 19 Oct 2009 by Mr X
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the Movie - Read the Book !!
Unfortunately, I had the regretful experience of seeing the movie in a Thai cinema prior to finding this book for 40p at a local Summer Fete. Read more
Published on 8 Oct 2008 by Mr. R. Coleman
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