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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Blake Yet
I discovered Richard Blake in 2008. I am a big fan of 'Conspiracies of Rome', and I greatly enjoyed 'Terror of Constantinople'. When I heard there was another one on the way, I could barely wait. I was also more than a little apprehensive. Sequels (and sequels of sequels) are often increasingly disappointing. I had been lucky once with Mr Blake, but this was hardly a...
Published on 16 Jun. 2010 by Sianlover

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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Directionless and not page-turning
After thoroughly being disenchanted with the screenplay, historically liberal photo-jacket offerings of Iggulden, I've steered clear of similar offerings from the likes of Anthony Riches, Douglas Jackson, Harry Sidebottom or John Stack. However, I gave way - probably due to the passage of time fading my responses - and picked up Richard Blake's latest offering.
I was...
Published on 12 July 2010 by travelswithadiplomat


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Blake Yet, 16 Jun. 2010
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I discovered Richard Blake in 2008. I am a big fan of 'Conspiracies of Rome', and I greatly enjoyed 'Terror of Constantinople'. When I heard there was another one on the way, I could barely wait. I was also more than a little apprehensive. Sequels (and sequels of sequels) are often increasingly disappointing. I had been lucky once with Mr Blake, but this was hardly a guarantee of his continued excellence. But I have now read 'Blood of Alexandria', and while I would be the first to say it is not in fact the best novel I have read, it is certainly the best historical novel I have read. Indeed, it is better even than his first, which I have come to prefer to the admittedly more richly-studied and sophisticated follow-up (possibly because it seems to me to be in some way "purer"). But what more of this one? Well, the best idea I can give you of it is to as you if you would like to know 7th century Alexandria. If you would, this is the book for you. Would you like to see the mummy of Alexander the Great? Would you like to see the Great Pyramid before the Arabs chose to deprive it of its limestone casing? Would you to see, hear, smell and taste a world that is long-dead, and may never have existed quite as depicted here, but which is presented with the utmost persausiveness and plausibility? Blake's knack for setting the scene is one of his greatest strengths. He has never been less than impressive in this respect, but here he excels himself: we are presented with a veritable rogue's gallery of disreputable but entirely credible characters. We are also left in no doubt that this is exactly how clever, ruthless people behave when plunged into an interlocking set of crises. Mr Blake's writing is fluent, immersive and so subtly expositional that we are able to persuade ourselves that the guilty pleasure of reading his works is tempered by their educational value. As we have come to expect, there are many moments of delicious black comedy, and many moments of shocking horror. And, driving everyone and everything inexorably on, is a plot as logical, complex and aesthetically and intellectually satisfying as a Bach fugue. It is a plot that picks us up on page one and does not allow us a moment's peace of mind until the moment when it sets us down, cathartically exhausted, five hundred pages later.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Egyptian troubles for Aelric, 19 Feb. 2011
By 
Ventura Angelo (Brescia, Lombardia Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blood of Alexandria (Death of Rome Saga) (Paperback)
The new Emperor Heraclius appoints Aelric with the less than pleasant job of enforcing a new taxation system and re-allocation of the land in Egypt: this plunges our anti-hero in a lutulent mess as deep as the waters of the Nile. His friend and devout Christian Martin accompanies him in a labyrinthine maze of deceit and conspiracies, among shifty viceroys, devious generals, followers of the Old Faith, heretic pontiffs and rebellious landowners. A pleasure to read, as among the adventures and terrors, mob revolts and tricky expeditions, you notice a sharp satire of religion and of blind faith, christian and otherwise. Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid offering, 7 Aug. 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The second novel for me by Richard Blake and one that I really devoured after finishing the first. As with the original, its beautifully written with a great excursion from modern times that's backed up with a seriously enjoyable writing style. Top notch entertainment and something of a guilty pleasure. I'll definitely seek out other titles by this author and I really want to see what he has in store for his characters in future excursions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Wayya jaja minti lalakali', 20 Jan. 2014
By 
J.K. Currie (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Blood of Alexandria (Death of Rome Saga) (Paperback)
`Richard Blake' has trotted out a new Aelric novel annually for the last six years and I guess there may still be another four to come. `Blake' clearly understands his Classics and has good knowledge of the historical period in which Aelric performs his adventures, but it would be wrong, I think, to consider these novels historically sound as some reviewers have done. While there is a basic substratum of historical fact, i.e. the crisis of the Roman Empire in the Seventh Century and its transformation into the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Heraclius, all this is simply a framework for fantastic plots of a febrile imagination. Some might simply say the stories are a complete load of nonsense.

Of course, these are novels, not non-fiction text books, and strict historical accuracy is neither to be expected or attainable; suspension of belief is necessary for their enjoyment. However, to suspend disbelief over 500 pages is quite an ask, especially in a novel concerned with Byzantine Egypt which manages to incorporate near death experiences, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, a guest appearance of the author himself (when Aelric almost meets his maker!), a most irreverent relic pertaining to the infancy of Jesus and an episode of mass impaling which would have caused envy to Vlad the Impaler himself. The silliness is sublime.

`Richard Blake' just about pulls it off in my opinion. As the novel spirals into fantasy in the last 100 pages or so, it also elicited a few long and sustained bursts of incredulous laughter from this reader. I am assured that laughter prolongs life and health. So, thank-you, Mr `Blake'.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU CAN NOT BEAT A GOOD STAKE, 26 Jun. 2010
This is my first outing with Richard Blake Aelric,the young British clark who has become a senator and trusted henchman of Emperor Heracluis and i found that it kept me page turning all the way to the end of this politcal intrigue in 612AD Egypt.The one character i was not sure of was the Mistress who seem to float through the story but was not notice by anyone except Aelric and who had powers that seem to take us into the world of fantasy.The man who i grew to like was Priscus,the old enemy from Constantinopl who has a drug habit and a passion for a nice stake,but not all ways on the plate,which along with his pet cat,was not unlike that of a Bond villain.I also throught the Amazon Nuns was a nice touch in the final outcome,so perhaps not so far from fantasy.So to sum up,a good read that makes me want to explore the first two books by Blake and the ending leads one to believe we will have more adventures with Aelric yet to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars blood of alexandria, 27 Sept. 2011
This review is from: The Blood of Alexandria (Death of Rome Saga) (Paperback)
a historical thriller with blakes usual style and skill
all the ingredients are in there! conspiracies,riots, effete villains, however it went over much of the same ground as your average eygto thriller the signposted lost city, the secret brotherhod of the old faith, the terrible secret, the lost tomb of alexander
alexanders mummy was unlike some novels of the same theme only an aside some nice touches but also lot of talk from the now familiar charactors
if you like blakes other aelric series and i did you will enjoy this but then again i always had a fondness for this period and blakes captures it well
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shock of the ancient, 13 Oct. 2012
This is a book brimming with historical insight and interest which also succeeds as a fast paced adventure story. It's well structured, well written and even the editing, so often poor these days, is better than average. Thank you Mr Blake.
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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Directionless and not page-turning, 12 July 2010
After thoroughly being disenchanted with the screenplay, historically liberal photo-jacket offerings of Iggulden, I've steered clear of similar offerings from the likes of Anthony Riches, Douglas Jackson, Harry Sidebottom or John Stack. However, I gave way - probably due to the passage of time fading my responses - and picked up Richard Blake's latest offering.
I was wincing after two pages. We are told in a "prologue" dated 688 that our now 98yr old protagonist - who's got the channel swimming skills to match David Walliams - is freely cheerful to criticize the literacy of all around him whilst embarking on use of words found in the English lexicon well after the supposed date. Words like "shite" (a modernization of the more obvious 16th century word) and "stove" (17th century) and "piss" (14th century) appear within the first tedious opening pages. Indeed, I find it somewhat incredible the publisher and editor has permitted the use of some of the words used to describe the Alexandrian populace throughout.
OK...so this novel is one of "those", written by a historian who has tried to appeal by "translating" his main characters speech into some kind of adrenaline-fuelled, street-wise and trendy twenty first century bonhomie. Fair enough. On with the plot.
Having saved a pupil and beaten the rest like some kind of Victorian-esque magister, we retreat back to 612A.D where our twenty-two year old hero, Aelric, finds himself in a slightly faded Alexandria. A little like a postcard that's curling at the edges, it is the scene for Aelric to carry out his mission for Emperor Heraclius -namely a modern day Tiberius Gracchus or forerunner to the iconic Robin Hood - to steal from the dastardly rich and give to the deserving poor. We trail our erstwhile hero as he moves in and out of Alexandria, generally shows up his poor understanding of the cultural diversity of Egypt compared to Constantinople, chases a caricature wanna-be Pharaoh, Lucas, into the desert, meets the somewhat unalluring "Mistress", dices continuously with the ever--suffering haemorrhoids secretary, Martin, and the silent Macarius, fends off the obese Nicetas and pompous Patriarch and deals with the "I am not sure if I am overly foppish or actually a hardened warrior" Priscus.
Having got off to a poor start, pages 50 -150 were not too bad. A pontificating rant about politics by Aelric peaked the book, however, and after that our "hero" proves himself more buffoon than arch-politician as he finds fear at the hands of the baying mob, spends most of his time in witty sarcasm on Lucas, and finally, in some kind of Indiana Jones lackadaisical effort, searches under Seteropolis to locate the last works of Eratosthenes amongst the remnants of a lost civilisation whose barbarity and human sacrifice seems dragged out of a pre-GCSE depiction of the Aztecs.
My problem with this book is that the character of Aelric seems directionless. There's no common theme underlying the book from the outset and it reads like a novel that's written itself as the author meanders along. It needs a clear, crisp theme from the start and the author's over-zealous descriptions at the Priscus' putting down of the revolt with how many different ways a stave can be used to make a metaphorical and literal point sums up the effort - style but no substance. It's not screenplay but it is scene-snapshot in style providing a disjointed jerkiness that does it little favours. I had hopes as I delved in, but ended disappointed and it took a conscious effort of reading 20-30 pages at a time to actually finish it. Not an author I'll eagerly look for on the shelves for a while.
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The Blood of Alexandria (Death of Rome Saga)
The Blood of Alexandria (Death of Rome Saga) by Richard Blake (Paperback - 17 Feb. 2011)
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