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Warrior of Rome II: King of Kings (Warrior of Rome 2) Hardcover – 9 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph; First Edition edition (9 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718153316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718153311
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 439,396 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


`A well-constructed, well-paced and gripping account' -- Times Literary Supplement

`Harry Sidebottom's epic tale starts with a chilling assassination and goes on, and up, from there' -- Professor Mary Beard, Chair of Classics, University of Cambridge

`I don't think I've ever experienced antiquity so directly: the brutality, the directness of expression and feeling, the deep bonds formed amid unmitigated violence' -- Professor David Konstan, Professor of Classics, Brown University

`It's the best sort of red-blooded historical fiction - solidly based on a profound understanding of what it meant to be alive in a particular time and place'
-- Andrew Taylor, Author of THE AMERICAN BOY

`Sidebottom's prose blazes with searing scholarship' -- The Times


`A well-constructed, well-paced and gripping account'

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By J. Cooper on 20 Oct 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was a very rewarding read and a great second book which maintains the high standard set by the initial book `Fire in the East'.

Its educational quality is superb and the intricate level of detail that the author has incorporated into the story is outstanding. You will certainly learn more about Roman life, customs and etiquette as you progress through the book. The text contains frequent Latin words and phrases which will require you to break from the story in order to consult the glossary at the back of the book. Readers of the first book will realise that this is now firmly established as part of the author's writing technique and helps to craft a more authentic read.

Ballista's career and association with the Emperor Valerian alternates between periods of favour and near disgrace. It is these periods of near disgrace that see Ballista being handed some of the less honourable positions which result in the northern barbarian's involvement in dangerous and dramatic events.

This is a more detailed and perhaps slower paced read than Scarrow's Roman series, but that does not detract from the quality and enjoyment you will experience by reading this book. Scarrow's series is ideal when you are in the need of an action packed book which is swift to read. Harry Sidebottom's books are superb reading material for those interested in the Roman Empire who desire more detail and are prepared to allow the book time to achieve its full potential.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By D. E. Franzen on 23 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover
An admirable sequel to the first Warrior of Rome volume, this King of Kings continues of the saga of the 3rd Century "crisis" in the Roman Empire through the character of Ballista, northern barbarian turned Roman warrior. Violent, but a gripping story. Amazing detailed reconstruction of the ancient world and especially ancient warfare, about which Sidebottom is a leading expert. Readers will have to wait until July 2010 for the conclusion of the series. It will be a hard wait, at least for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is volume 2 of Harry Sidebottom's Warrior of Rome series. It picks up the story of Ballista, the son of an Angle warlord who has been brought up at the imperial court as a hostage and become a Roman general, almost exactly where "Fire in the East" ended. I read this book almost three years ago, at a time when I did not post reviews. I have gone through it again today, and still found it almost as good as the first volume.

Again, but perhaps even more than in "Fire in the East", this volume displays the author's grasp for the so-called Third century AD crisis. This was when the Roman Empire was threatened and attacked simultaneously on most of its frontiers and when some sixty individuals were proclaimed Emperor in one part or another of the Empire. This is a period on which we know comparatively little, but Sidebottom brings it magnificently to life. Specifically, this volume tells the story of the last years of Emperor Valerian and the disastrous campaign against the Sassanid King of Kings that lead to his capture and to the destruction of his army. It also tells the story of the specific usurpation of Macrinus and his two sons, after they had betrayed Valerian to the Persians.

Another strong point of this book is to show both the growing influence of the Christians, especially in Asia and North Africa. Valerian resumed the persecutions against them, partly because he wanted to use them as scapegoats for his own failures against the Persians. Rome was seen as unsuccessful because the Christians had offended the Gods and betrayed the Emperor as they refused to sacrifice to the Gods and refused to bear arms. The persecutions at Ephesus really took place, although Ballista's role in them seems to have been invented by the author for the purpose of the story.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. I. Harrison on 7 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Having zipped through a lot of the other reviews, a fairly strongly held view seems to be this is not as good as the first installment!

Well I agree in part with that but I think that is in no small way down to it being the 'set up book'. If I can make a footballing analogy this book is the cross into the box and I think the next in the series will be a spectacular volley into the net.

Sidebottem essentially with this book tells of the treachery of some of the Emperor's court and their cunning use of Ballista in this plot, however this is so cunningly told I only realised about the same time as Ballista himself so whilst enjoying the book a lot, I was a little bemused about what the actual 'story' was.

The book ends in highly unsatisfactory way, in that it left me screaming 'Nooo!' and shouting obscenities at Amazon because the next volume is not out and there are a few characters still living and breathing I want to see die in highly imaginative and colourful ways! Not that this is Amazon's fault.

I think the author has to take much credit for the emotion he has drawn from me. His character portrayals are such that I have a genuine fondness for the Ballista household especially his two celtic slaves. They are genuinly 3D, flawed human beings and some other writers in this genre could learn much from Sidebottem about characterisation.

The use of latin terminology and titles is still present but didn't jarr with me in the same way it did in the first volume. Whether this is because it is more subtly done or I have adjusted to his style I am not sure. It did still feel a little contrived and just un-needed. Tell the story and then refer me to where I can find all the genuine latin terminology, in the unlikely event I ever want to read it.
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