Although I've been a fan of military science fiction books for a while, this was my first introduction of David Drake. I'm glad to say that I wasn't disappointed. Other people have already done a great job of covering the plot, so I won't bore you by going over it again. However, I would like to point out that this book is not a collection of short stories. The book has several independent military campaigns in it, but they involve the same people and are interconnected. Also, while this book was written several years ago (mid-80's, I think), it doesn't feel dated they way many books from that era do.
The characters have a lot of dimension to them and they react in very human ways to the situations that they face. They also grow over the course of the book. I often found myself wondering how I would react if I was in their place.
Unfortunately, there is nothing in this book that you can point at and think "Wow, everyone should read this book!" There really are no grand or unique ideas presented; however, if you're looking to kill some time, this is a fine book to pick up. This would also be a good book to get someone interested in the Roman Empire, military fiction, or science fiction. Cheers!