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The Leopard Sword: Empire IV [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Riches
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)

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Book Description

'A master of the genre' The Times

Britannia has been subdued - and an epic new chapter in Marcus Valerius Aquila's life begins.

The murderous Roman agents who nearly captured Marcus have been defeated by his friends. But in order to protect those very friends from the wrath of the emperor, he must leave the province which has been giving him shelter. As Marcus Tribulus Corvus, centurion of the second Tungrian auxiliary cohort, he leads his men from Hadrian's Wall to the Tungrians' original home in Germania Inferior.

There he finds a very different world from the turbulent British frontier - but one with its own dangers. Tungrorum, the center of a once-prosperous farming province, a city already broght low by the ravages of the eastern plague that has swept through the empire, is now threatened by an outbreak of brutally violent robbery. A bandit chieftain called Obduro, his identity always hidden behind an iron cavalry helmet, is robbing and killing with impunity.

His sword - sharper, stronger and more deadly than any known to the Roman army - is the lethal symbol of his unstoppable power. And now he has moved beyond mere theft and threatens to destabilize the whole northern frontier of the empire . . .

Books In This Series (8 Books)
Complete Series

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    Product Description


    This is fast-paced and gripping "read-through-the-night" fiction, with marvellous characters and occasional moments of dark humour. Some authors are better historians than they are storytellers. Anthony Riches is brilliant at both. (Conn Iggulden)

    A damn fine read . . . fast-paced, action-packed. (Ben Kane)

    Stands head and shoulders above a crowded field . . . . real, live characters act out their battles on the northern borders with an accuracy of detail and depth of raw emotion that is a rare combination. (Manda Scott)

    'Muscular in prose and approach, the novel is riveting and direct.' (History Today on THE LEOPARD SWORD)

    'This is a fast-paced, action-packed read. Anthony Riches brings alive the harsh reality of the Roman world - the period, people, and culture - in a frenetic and exciting novel which is well researched and tinged with humour. The battle scenes are vivid and expertly told . . . Difficult to put down, this is a welcome addition to the genre . . . Recommended' (Historical Novels Review on THE LEOPARD SWORD)

    Book Description

    The Empire series begins a new era - Marcus has fled from Britannia, but the emperor's henchmen are still on his trail.

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 2026 KB
    • Print Length: 401 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1444711822
    • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (26 April 2012)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1444711822
    • ISBN-13: 978-1444711820
    • ASIN: B007FXICSC
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,303 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    More About the Author

    Anthony Riches began his lifelong interest in war and soldiers when he first heard his father's stories about World War II. This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. He began writing the story that would become Wounds of Honour after a visit to Housesteads in 1996. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
    By Kate TOP 500 REVIEWER
    Set in the late 2nd century AD, three Empire novels have followed the dangerous and thrilling path of Marcus Valerius Aquila, a man on the run, as he fought for victory by Hadrian's Wall against the northern tribes and manoeuvred himself into the loyalties and affections of his fellow centurions and soldiers. We have met infantrymen, cavalry and bowmen, a succession of different forces from across the empire, all gathered to keep the northernmost tip of the empire secure while, as the emperor Commodus' corruption becomes ever more apparent, gaining another more secret mission of keeping Marcus safe from the tyranny that has wiped out his entire family and, since then, good friends.

    But Roman Britain is no longer safe for Marcus. The deadly reach of Commodus now stretches even to this remote border of the empire. Marcus is in disguise as centurion Marcus Tribulus Corvus of the second Tungrian auxiliary cohort but his success in that role (winning him the name of Two Knives) has left a blazing trail for Commodus' spies to trace. Marcus and his love Felicia, the army's doctor, may have survived the latest attack on them at Hadrian's Wall but the time has come for Marcus to move on. However, because this is Marcus we're talking about, a centurion beloved of his men and fellow officers, he's not on his own. As The Leopard Sword begins, Marcus leads his auxiliaries back home, to the city of Tungrorum in Germania Inferior, a city depleted by plague and now threatened by a forest of bandits, led by Obduro, a man hidden behind a Roman cavalry mask and armed with a sword that can cut iron blades in two, the Leopard Sword.

    The Leopard Sword is different from its predecessors, effectively marking the end of a trilogy and beginning a new phase in Marcus' career and in the story.
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    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy addition to a great series 30 April 2012
    By Nick Brett TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    The Leopard Sword is the fourth in the Empire series. The first three were set on Hadrian's Wall with young Centurion Marcus Tribulus Corvus hiding under an assumed name, escaping the politics of Rome. The books centred on his adventures on the Wall and the barbarians beyond, while finding his home in the camaraderie of his Legion colleagues. Very entertaining they were too, but Anthony Riches was wise enough to realise he needed to throw something fresh into the series, and indeed he has.

    The Leopard Sword sees Marcus and his colleagues being sent to their original home, Tungrorum in Germania. Their role is to protect the town from bandits and ensure the supply routes for grain are kept open. On arrival they find the bandits have been united by a mysterious masked leader, and nothing is what it seems at first sight.

    Of course it roars along at a great pace and sucks you in straight away, the signs of a great story-teller and with a great cast of characters. The author is clever enough to spread the story a bit and it works really well, Marcus is in there but he is not the main focus. I have to say my favourite character is probably the Tribune, Scaurus. A clever and multi-layered character, but that is true of many of the individuals in here, and the author finely balances the story around them.

    So, much to enjoy here and a welcome addition to a series that dares to grow and challenge the reader.
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    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb and very enjoyable read... 6 May 2012
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    If you are looking for a piece of historical fiction that is also part thriller and part adventure story, then look no further: Anthony Riches has done it again in this fourth installment of his "Empire" series. Since he mentions his intention to write on through top the end of the regin of Septimius Severus (in AD 211) and the book takes place in AD 182, readers can probably expect another dozen book over the next few years. The book is a superb read, one of those that readers would be adviased to start on a Friday evening only, or, even better, on a Saturday or Sunday morning with nothing else planned for the rest of the day. Otherwise, you'll finish it around 2 or 3 am while having to go to work the next day.

    Having said that, the book is not quite perfect (although you could just as well argue that no book ever is!). I, possibly like a few other reviewers, hesitated between four and five stars. I went for the latter for a number of reasons.
    - However much I might quibble about the story - I found out rather early on who the "nasty" was - it is well written, with something happening every 20-30 pages or so and it also includes a few "hed herrings". There is simply no way a reader will be bored here
    - It is also very well researched, with an interesting emphasis on the plague (or rather the series of plagues) that hit the Roman Empire during Marcus Aurelius' reign and under Comodus and its dire consequences in terms of population and financial and economival resources. Another very interesting point is that it also lead to wide-scale banditry within the empire. This could disrupt the army's provisioning and create major issues especially since the legions and cohorts wedre still mostly stationed along the borders.
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    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch Roman Fiction 28 April 2012
    By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
    I've enjoyed Anthony's books since he burst onto the seen a few years ago, they had a great combination of action, a familiar setting for me and added a cracking lead character who demonstrated both tenderness, naivety and the ability to fight when it came to it.

    Add to this sharp prose, a great sense of pace which when backed with a writing style that's very easy to get into, you can't help but sit back and enjoy the adventure.

    Here in the latest title there's more of the same with a villain that's the same level as Corvus, has a solid combat style which when accompanied with an almost mythical blade makes for a real challenge for our Centurion hero, almost as if he were a flip side of the same coin. Add to this the Tungarians' marching back to their homelands to help take some of the heat from our hero with a graphic change of scenery and fighting style and all in this book was a pure joy from start to finish. I really can't wait to see what Anthony comes up with next.
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