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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Not bad but a bit lightweight
on 18 April 2008
Jack Ludlow is the pseudonym of David Donachie who has written a number of Nelson's navy type novels. I read one of them a few years ago and felt it was OK but nothing special and read no more of them. I fear the same is the case here. I felt it more of a family saga than anything else. Suddenly, at around page 400, there's some action!! Does remind me of Jeffrey Archer's books - readable but lacking substance. If you want genuine political intrigue in Ancient Rome, try Robert Harris' superb 'Imperium'. If you want the blood and guts of the legions, you can do no better than Simon Scarrow. I'm afraid this one falls way short of both. Not helped, for me, by there being no setting in history. There's virtually no real-life figure in the novel at all. Nearest I can suggest is that because there's a Domitius who's buiding a road in souther France, then that would place it at 118BC but then there's mention of Hannibal as if he were not too long gone. To compound it, he mentions the famous 10th Legion nearly 70 years into the future. Maybe that's what he wants. Certainly no Author's Note at the end explaining anything. However, as I've said, it's readable enough and plenty of loose ends to lead to the next book [already in hardback I think] but some of the storyline is terribly predictable and of the seen-it-all-before type. Some people will enjoy it more than me I'm sure but if you're looking for historical fiction of the Scarrow/Cornwell style, you won't find it here.