N. Ross

Helpful votes received on reviews: 83% (35 of 42)
Location: England


Top Reviewer Ranking: 289,640 - Total Helpful Votes: 35 of 42
Warrior of Rome: The Amber Road (Warrior of Rome 6&hellip by Harry Sidebottom
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A few years back I wrote a review here for Harry Sidebottom's third novel, 'Lion of the Sun', in which I suggested that he might have been influenced by Robert E Howard's Conan stories. The appendix of this new book ends with the note that 'when I was twelve or thirteen, I loved the pulp fiction of Robert E Howard. Not having reread any, I cannot tell if it has left its mark'. I haven't reread any either, but I think it probably has!

'The Amber Road', which sees hero Ballista journeying off to his homeland in the far north to bring the Baltic tribes back into alliance with the emperor Gallienus, has influences of a different sort. Sidebottom has written elsewhere of his… Read more
Constantine the Emperor by David Potter
Constantine the Emperor by David Potter
4.0 out of 5 stars Potter's Constantine, 22 Nov 2013
The Emperor Constantine is undoubtably one of the most widely discussed figures of antiquity - only Alexander the Great rivals him in the number of books devoted to his study. This is not surprising; as David Potter writes in this one, Constantine was `not only one of the most successful emperors of Rome, but one of history's most influential leaders'.

If there was to be a definitive history of Constantine, David Potter, author of the compendious and enormously detailed 'The Roman Empire at Bay', looked like he might be the man to write it. This isn't that book, unfortunately, but it's a serious contribution to the field anyway.

Potter starts his account long before… Read more
The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez
The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez
2.0 out of 5 stars Death by numbers..., 28 July 2013
For a contemporary murder mystery this is oddly sedate, even well-mannered - no brutal slayings, no ritual gore, and the only thing that gets disemboweled is a badger. Instead we have a pleasant, if rather bland, Argentinian graduate student narrator drifting about Oxford having heady maths chats with a professor, while a number of bumpings-off take place in the background.

For all that, it's a fun fast read - Martinez writes cleanly and moves things along at a clip. There's quite a bit of Dan Brownery going on (symbols, cranky professors), a hint of Umberto Eco, and the plot appears to borrow more than a little from the Borges short story 'Death and the Compass' - but there's… Read more