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The Forgotten Legion: (The Forgotten Legion Chronicles No. 1) [Paperback]

Ben Kane
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Jan 2011 The Forgotten Legion Chronicles (Book 1)

Romulus and Fabiola are twins, born into slavery after their mother is raped by a drunken nobleman. At thirteen years old they are sold - Romulus to gladiator school, Fabiola into prostitution, where she will catch the eye of one of the most powerful men in Rome. Tarquinius is an Etruscan, a warrior and soothsayer, born enemy of Rome, but doomed to fight for the Republic in the Forgotten Legion. Brennus is a Gaul, his entire family killed by the Romans, and he rises to become one of the most famous and feared gladiators of his day.

The lives of these characters are bound and interwoven in an odyssey which begins in a Rome riven by political corruption and violence, but ends far away, at the very border of the known world, where the tattered remnants of a once-huge Roman army - the Forgotten Legion - will fight against overwhelming odds, and the three men will meet their destiny.

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The Forgotten Legion: (The Forgotten Legion Chronicles No. 1) + The Silver Eagle: (The Forgotten Legion Chronicles No. 2) + The Road to Rome: (The Forgotten Legion Chronicles No. 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (6 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099556286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099556282
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

'History is more than facts on a pages. It's the sounds, the smells, the people, the passion. History should make you think: "I was there."

My books are born from my obsession with Roman history. I've followed Spartacus' trail across Italy. I've stood at Cannae and imagined Hannibal's army meeting the massed legions of Rome. I've watched the sea lapping against the fortifications of Syracuse, which were besieged by the Romans for almost two years. I've walked Hadrian's Wall in full Roman military dress, including hobnailed boots.

Immerse yourself in these incredible stories and - like me - remind yourself why the legend of Rome endures.' - Ben Kane

'Who is the rising star of historical fiction? I say Ben Kane.' - WILBUR SMITH

To find out more about Ben Kane, his world and his novels visit:
Twitter @BenKaneAuthor

(The image of Ben with the sword on Hadrian's Wall was provided by North News & Pictures, and the one with authors Anthony Riches and Russell Whitfield on Hadrian's Wall by Dr. Mike Bishop.)

Product Description


"I thoroughly enjoyed The Forgotten Legion - so much so that I stayed up until 2am to finish it. Where others play in the rarefied world of senators, legates and upper class merchants, Kane delves into the grim underbelly of slavery, prostitution and gladiatorial carnage; a place where life is cheap and the thirst of the conquerors for the blood of the conquered knows no bounds. Here, we smell the grime, lie on the cold floors, face death daily with little to live for beyond the faint spark of hope that one day there might be revenge. His creation of the Etruscan Haruspex is fantastic - a man of a defeated nation who can yet give hope, and does so, to both Roman and captive alike . . . and the conclusion leaves us waiting for the sequel." (Manda Scott, author of the 'Boudica' novels)

"Historical fiction has never been more visceral and engaging than Ben Kane's debut novel The Forgotten Legion. Bloody, fast-paced, thrilling . . . what Wilbur Smith did for Egypt, Kane does for ancient Rome. Written in a cinematic style, Kane paints his lost world with such fervency that you'll swear you hear the thunder of the colisseum and the roar of the lions in the pit. Here is a masterful debut that shouldn't be missed!" (James Rollins, bestselling author of The Last Oracle)

Book Description

The Forgotten Legion - fighting for honour, freedom and revenge

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Republican Rome's underbelly exposed. 1 Aug 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Republican Rome's underbelly exposed.

Ben Kane's novel 'The Lost Legion' is a gripping novel set in ancient Rome. Kane writes about the last days of the Roman Republic but with an unusual approach. He chooses his main characters from people on the margins of Roman society, those who inhabit the underbelly of the Republic and provide the essential services to keep the wealthy in a life of luxury. This means that the society they describe is almost as much of a mystery to them as it to the reader of two thousand years later.

Kane opens the book by giving us Tarquinius, a character from the long-conquered Etruscan society, moves swiftly to introduce Brennus a giant of a Gaul and then to Romulus and Fabiola, slave siblings who are sold into two of the most awful worlds of Rome, the brothel and the circus.

Kane chooses to develop different streams of his novel, never an easy task but one which he manages with skill. I never felt I had to go back to re-read what was happening to one of the characters even when there had been a gap since I had last read about them.

I particularly liked his portrayal of the clever, beautiful Fabiola. Many epic historical novels tend to side-line female characters but Fabiola is not a woman content to be side-lined by anybody, (including, I suspect, the author.) I look forward to seeing how she will develop.

Kane seems to me to be historically accurate, adept at capturing the essence of Romans such as Caesar, Crassus and Brutus. This dedication to authenticity led to one of my few niggles. He uses the accurate Roman words for weapons, almost all of the time. This gave me pause; I'd rather he dispensed with the Latin and said swords and shields for ease of reading.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This is an adventure set in the days of Pompey, Crassus and Caesar and following the legion that Crassus lost on his ill fated expedition into Parthia. It's a good enough story, and I don't really fault the effort the author has put into understanding the history and setting - but I have been spoiled by reading through Conn Iggulden's "Emperor" series. That is an extremely hard act to follow.

Ultimately the thing that - to me - let this book down was the pacing of the story - I almost gave up at 250 pages in because nothing much had actually happened at that point. We were treated with far too much information about the life of the prostitute Fabiola. I did not intend to buy soft porn, but the sexual references were very frequent in this book (not just for straight sex either). Eventually events unfold in Parthia as they must, and there were no surprises on that score. The story sets up a sequel, but maybe the book would have been more interesting if the sequel had been written into this one. I doubt I will bother with the sequel.

Regarding prose, there was something odd in the dialogue. The author uses some very basic colloquial English, which is fair enough as a stylistic choice. Romans swore as much as anyone, and used colloquialisms too. But then the next sentence of dialogue would be much more formal. An example:

"We are in deep sh**. We should flee"

Surely a more natural dialogue would read "We are in a dire situation now, we should flee" (formal) or "We are in deep sh**. Run!" (colloquial)

Maybe others will disagree, but this grated on me as I was reading it.

I cannot really recommend this story, although its not the worst thing I ever read, so I will give it 3 stars and add that if you are patient with the pacing, your mileage may vary. But really I would recommend the "Emperor" series in preference to this.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful stuff! 20 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First of all I have to declare an interest (and a concern) here. Ben Kane and I are colleagues in the historical fiction genre, and friends to boot. He's recently reviewed my first book and been kind enough to make some positive comments - and I suppose the praise of our peers always means a lot to any professional - and I therefore approach this review in the interesting situation that if I take a positive view of 'The Forgotten Legion' it can 'only be' as an act of mutual back scratching. Indeed I thought long and hard before setting finger to keyboard at all on the subject, but decided that not to comment on Ben's debut novel would just be counter productive, given the way I reacted to his work. So...

Ben often says that 'The Forgotten Legion' would be a better book were he to write it now, and think we can all say the same about our early work. We mature as writers, learn what works best and become more skilled at plot and characterisation (you can either write dialogue or you can't, and no amount of literary study will change that in my opinion). So if Ben were to re-write TFL he might produce a more 'polished' work, but might also run the risk of losing the energy that I found in the book, that sheer sense of 'what if...' that has a fan of alternate history like me stroking his chin and thinking.

Ben holds a sizeable audience in the palm of his hand, and it's easy to see why. The risk with historical fiction is that we tend to know more or less what's coming.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
Knows his stuff, well put together. Looking forward to more output from this writer. Hope I don't have to wait long
Published 2 months ago by Kevin J. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting and entertaining read!!
Easy reading - was written in a flowing style!
The characters were lively through the authors use of vocabulary and humour. I'm looking forward to the next book!
Published 6 months ago by Sandi
4.0 out of 5 stars Romulus
Well told story interesting and plenty of action to keep your attention. I would certainly read more if this author.
Published 6 months ago by brian bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars very good read
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical dramas.
The characters are deep and we'll rounded set in historical fact
Published 7 months ago by Jon b
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Novels
A super book - delivered very promptly and in good condition.

This is an excellent read for any lover of military history and as the first of a trilogy, I am looking... Read more
Published 8 months ago by L. W. Locke
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten Legion - Ben Kane
It is an easy read, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, bringing alive the life of a Roman soldier and the brutality of war.
Published 10 months ago by Millicent Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten Legion, Ben Kane- Book Review
The Forgotten Legion is based around one of the most infamous eras of Roman history, the triumvirate of Pompeii Magnus, Crassus and Julius Caesar. Read more
Published 16 months ago by adam-p-reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive reading.
Just discovered this Authur, Ben Kane. Once started, I found it very difficult to put it down. As a result I have his other titles lined up ready for the follow on. Read more
Published 16 months ago by john
1.0 out of 5 stars Uninteresting
I'll be honest from the outset, I bought this because I've finished all of Simon Scarrow's "Cato" and Rob Low's "Orm/Crowbone" series, and I wanted a new set of... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mark D
5.0 out of 5 stars A good start.
I'd read Simon Scarrow's books andMC Scott and was looking for a replacement. These definately fit the bill. Lots of action and a good story.
Published 17 months ago by mike stott
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