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The Caspian Gates (Warrior of Rome 4) [Hardcover]

Harry Sidebottom
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 July 2011 Warrior of Rome 4

AD262 - the Imperium is in turmoil after the struggle for the throne. Furthermore, Ephesus, Asia's metropolis, lies in ruins, shattered by a mighty earthquake. Its citizens live in fear as the mob overwhelms the city, baying for blood to avenge the gods who have punished them.

Yet an even greater threat to the Empire advances from the North. The barbaric Goth tribes sail towards Ephesus, determined to pillage the city. Only Ballista, Warrior of Rome, knows the ways of the barbarians, and only he can defeat them.

The Goths' appetite for brutality and destruction is limitless and before long Ballista is locked into a deadly bloodfeud, with an enemy that has sworn to destroy him - and the Imperium - at all costs.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph; First ediiton edition (7 July 2011)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0718155912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718155919
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Harry Sidebottom is a Fellow of St Benets Hall and lecturer at Lincoln College, Oxford - where he specializes in ancient warfare and classical art.

Product Description

About the Author

Dr Harry Sidebottom is a Fellow of St Benet's Hall and lecturer at Lincoln College, Oxford - where he specializes in ancient warfare and classical art.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Gem 7 July 2011
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Fans of Roman Historical Fiction will undoubtedly have tried at least one Harry Sidebottom title. They're well written, beautifully researched and have memorable characters who find ways to help keep Rome on top of the world, stamping their own brand of Justice in their size x steel studded caligae.

What unfurls in this title, for me, is Harry's best book to date, from its almost Gemmellesque prologue to its heavy adventure of bloody slaughter as our hero, Ballista, faces the might of the Goths in a no holds barred battle to the death. Back this up with great prose, some deliciously soldierly dialogue and tie it up with an almost mythical reading of pace and you know that it's going to be a book that will be hard to put down. Great stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling reading. 13 Dec 2013
By Trajan
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As with all Harry Sidebottom's previous works his attention to detail, both fact and fictional is beyond reproach, the narrative, albeit not as faced paced as in his previous novels is still full of gritty visceral action, combine this with excellent sub plots ,in-depth characterisations and an innate feeling for the epoch, then you have another Sidebottom winner.
To date I have read all the books in the Warrior of Rome series and enjoyed everyone of them. Highly recommended.
The perfect companion to this excellent work is the ROMA VICTRIX wine beakerCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrills with character depth 2 Nov 2011
Sequels are a demanding task for any writer, in keeping the characters alive for the reader and consistent. In this, the fourth of the Warrior of Rome series, Harry Sidebottom triumphs effortlessly. Once again, he combines a fascinating interpretation of the mid-third-century Roman Empire in collapse with his lucid exposition and thrilling command of action scenes. His prose is taut--elegant and earthy by turn: when they curse and swear, the Roman soldiers do so like the troopers they are.

If you haven't read the first three titles (Fire in the East, King of Kings, and Lion of the Sun--and you should), the hero Ballista is a barbarian Angle who, through fortune and a fighting spirit tempered by a gift for diplomacy, is promoted to the heights of the Imperial Army. But it wasn't all easy. In between fighting the Sassanian Persian Empire, Ballista has contended with his numerous imperial enemies, all eager to bury a dagger in his back. At his side stalwart companions ugly Calgacus, testosterone-driven Maximus, and the young Greek slave-secretary Demetrius, fight against all odds.

In The Caspian Gates, Demetrius had been freed and now resides in the household of Gallienus, the emperor who rules barely a third of the Roman Imperium, thanks to the secession of Gaul, Spain, and Britain; and the East is in a mess. Away from his straight-laced former master, Demetrius is also free to indulge his homosexuality, worshipping at the fount of all power, on the couch of the emperor.

Another Greeks steps into the shoes of Demetrius, but Hippothous is a dark character with an agenda of his own. This, it has to be said is only hinted at and doesn't materialize in this book; maybe in the sixth?
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece 26 July 2011
The fourth Warrior of Rome novel begins with a bang as Ephesus is struck by a mighty earthquake. Not long after the Goths invade and Ballista is involved in the defence of a number of nearby poorly prepared cities. Yet Ballista's past is swift to catch up with him and his new Imperial Mandata sends him to the very edge of the Empire. Confronted with barbarian hordes, a rotten royal family and complex tribal politics, life for Ballista in the fourth book is quite eventful.

As ever the book oozes with detail, historical intricacies and subtle semantics. Yet I found the fourth book to be somewhat slower paced than the previous three. That was probably because the overall theme of the fourth book could be summed up as `travel'. Ballista spends an awful long time travelling to one of the furthest reaches of the Empire. It was therefore necessary for the author to fully describe Ballista's journey in order to give the reader a sense of the scale and monotony that Ballista endured. That being said, the travel passages are beautifully described, you really feel like you are stood on deck with the rest of the familia. In addition, these important plot building passages are not devoid of the occasional action scene.

There are a couple of new characters within the fourth book which inject fresh energy and charisma. Yet all of the old favourites accompany Ballista on his journey. It enabled that sense of family and camaraderie to flourish within the fourth book as it has done in the past three. I love the fact that the author takes his time to build his characters throughout the books. It's such a great and simple technique which allows the reader to remain engaged with the characters as the series progresses.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tepid... 25 Sep 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read the author's three previous installments on Ballista. The first (Fire in the East) was superb. The other two, when compared with the first, were somewhat disappointing and didn't live up to the (allegedly very high) expectations that the first volume had created. This is even more the case with the Caspian Gates. On the plus side, the period chosen - the crisis of the 3rd century ib the Roman Empire and its mix of civil wars of barbarian invasions - is original and has even been copied since Sidebottom's first novel. The author's knowledge (he is a historian of the period) ensures that the context of the storytelling and th historical facts are accurate. There are however a few problems, especially with this episode (as with the previous ones, although to a lesser extent)
- one is that a historian, even a good one, does not necessarily make a good writter and story teller. I couldn't help finding that the story was a bit slow going and feeling that the author had been compelled to display his knowledge to try to make up for this. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me
- another problem I had was that his characters, including Ballista himself, did not seem to come alive in this episode, unlike in previous ones
- My third, and last, grip was that this book has been somewhat "oversold". Granted, the prologue is rather exciting (although I wouldn't qualify it as "gemmellesque" as another commentator who got a bit carried away did), but this is hardly enough to make the story into a superb book. "The Times" suggested that this book was "searing". I found it tepid and I am sorry about it. It could have been much better...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 7 days ago by blue
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Gets better with every book
Published 11 days ago by Steve Atkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
These books keep me waiting for the next in the series,
I'm getting impatient.
Published 24 days ago by Taxidood
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
This one is right up my street,this one is very hard to put down,once you get into it.To get the maximum reading enjoyment you would need to read them all in the order that they... Read more
Published 4 months ago by a.spiers
4.0 out of 5 stars And it feels like....
There's a thing about military books series one loves - reading each new one is like meeting old friends. These men are like brothers. They're like brothers to you. Read more
Published 6 months ago by ereini0n
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great book
If you like harry side bottom, you will love this book, I just couldn't put it down, great great great book!
Published 6 months ago by Wesley
5.0 out of 5 stars Roman Adventure
A real page turner..started this novel as aid to sleep ......ended up wide awake in anticipation...a wonderful read.. a real winner..Harry.???
Published 8 months ago by Treen Chronicles
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Arrived in good time, well packaged, excellent condition. Completely as described. Looks well made of good quality materials. Does what it is supposed to. Good Book
Published 9 months ago by The Saint
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Have read the other books in this series - very compelling. The Caspian Gates is one of the best in the series thus far. Read more
Published 9 months ago by SAM WILSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I bought this for my husband. He is a huge fan of Roman history and literature and really enjoyed this book. Harry Sidebottom at his best - again!
Published 10 months ago by Peachmo
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