2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good story let down by poor writing style, 18 Sep 2006
I agree with many other readers here - this book has an extremely cumbersome style to it which many readers will find difficult or impossible to plough through. I found, reading this book for the first time, that the story got bogged down in many places. However, if you can cut through the waffle, the story itself isn't bad and despite the stodgy writing has some moments of genuine tension and suspense.
Out of the three main characters, Una remains the most enigmatic. This is perhaps because her story is going to be developed in one of the later books, but at times I thought that I didn't know enough about her to sympathise with her.
Having now read the book twice, I found it easier to read the second time. The Roman world McDougall has created is believable and is made to seem everyday, as though the reader is familiar with it and takes most of the surroundings for granted. Although this means that in places the world is only vaguely described, it is certainly believable. McDougall has obviously done a great deal of research and her alternative history of the Roman Empire at the end of the book is interesting and helps to make her world more believable.
The story itself is enjoyable if a little overlong. I'll give it four stars because though I enjoyed the book I found it frustratingly slow going at times. I'm looking forward to the sequel but hope that Ms McDougall has improved her writing style by then.