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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing, 28 Aug 2014
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Review

Doug Jackson, the quiet gentleman of historical fiction. With every book he takes his writing to a new level, the Gaius Valerius Verrens series being an interesting, clever and thrilling mix of story telling, blood and thunder battles, political intrigue and well thought out well written "real" characters.

The main character Verrens, with his almost stiff necked honesty and Roman honour that borders on the suicidal at times, needs a foil, someone to bounce off as a character in the plot, to keep him alive in the reality of the ancient Roman world and to keep the story honest. We get that with Serpentius, who im glad to say in this book is back to being a deadly (but mortal) ex-gladiator, those who read my review of Sword of Rome will remember i was worried that he was becoming a bit super human, but Doug has it perfect in this book, flawed, fallible, but highly skilled, emotional, but tightly wound and highly introspective, one of my favorite characters.

Others that i think Doug writes to perfection in this book; the brief glimpse of Pliny, Marcus Antonius Primus a man who could be an enemy, but is a bigger man. The brilliant emperor Vitellius, corpulent, cowardly, heroic, highly intelligent, and utterly doomed from the start. A character who steals chunks of the book. Given how well he has been written i long to see how Vespasian will grow into the next book.

All of this fantastic characterisation is portrayed in Douglas Jackson uniquely detailed yet fast paced style that lifts the reader from the first page, thrusts a Sword in one hand, a Shield in the other and slams you into the shield wall of Battle. But more than just swords and sandals it has you creeping and spying, exploring the motives and streets of Rome, there is simply no let up in this tale (or the entire series), Book 1 Hero of Rome still holds the best written scene in any book, with Verrens battling Boudicca, that writing skill and talent just grown and grows and will keep me coming back for more.

Highly Recommended (in the do not miss category)

(Parm)

Rufus
1. Caligula: The Tyranny of Rome (2008)
2. Claudius (2009)

Gaius Valerius Verrens
1. Hero of Rome (2010)
2. Defender of Rome (2011)
3. Avenger of Rome (2012)
4. Sword of Rome (2013)
5. Enemy of Rome (2014)

Glen Savage mystery
War Games (2014)

As James Douglas

Jamie Saintclaire
1. The Doomsday Testament (2011)
2. The Isis Covenant (2012)
3. The Excalibur Codex (2013)
4. The Samurai Inheritance (2014)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gotta hand it to him..., 30 Aug 2014
By 
This review is from: Enemy of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens 5) (Hardcover)
If you like your historical fiction bloody, political and factually accurate – but especially bloody – Douglas Jackson is your go-to man.

His one-handed Roman warrior Valerius is back in the thick of war and intrigue in this latest outing, set in the latter days of the Year of Four Emperors, 69AD. Saved from a grim death for desertion, he’s put to work in support of the general the legions in the east have decided should be emperor, Vespasian.

Trouble is, that once again puts him at odds with the latest emperor in Rome, his pal Vitellius, a complex slob whose heart’s in the right place but whose destiny is in the wrong one. Valerius has to walk on eggshells as he treads the roads to Rome with his servant and companion, Serpentius – not to mention wading through rivers of blood as the civil war rages.

With battle scenes that have you feeling every plunge of the blade, and two-faced b*****ds you want to forearm smash, Enemy of Rome will have you, if not leaping, at least shifting in your armchair and your dreams as you join in the action of those violent times.

A super book, a fine hero, and the great thing is, there’s so much more to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking new outing for Verrens, 1 Sep 2014
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The latest outing from Douglas Jackson for Gaius and perhaps the one that puts him in the most danger to date as he is offered a way out from execution if he pledges to Vespasian. As usual with Douglas’ writing the reader is treated to not only a kick ass story with solid bloody battle sequences but also accompanied by a deep intelligence of cunningly added with political machinations alongside double-dealing.

It’s definitely something unique and for me a series that I have had a hell of a lot of fun with. (Usually meaning only to read a few pages and then notice the sun creeping through the curtains.) All round a great piece of writing and for me a UK name that truly delivers with each release. Magic.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Roman historical fiction, 28 Aug 2014
By 
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Enemy of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens 5) (Hardcover)
It is AD 69 and civil war is threatening to tear the foundations of Rome apart. In this Year of the Four Emperors, nowhere is safe as faction upon faction puts its legions into the field. Gaius Valerius Verrens is in a particularly tight spot - friend to one emperor (Vitellius) but fighting for another (Otho), Valerius has reached the end, bare foot, awaiting a traitor's death on the bitterly contested soil of Pannonia.

But Valerius is a man with powerful friends and it is one of them, Titus, who saves him, putting him to work to support the campaign of his father Vespasian, a general watched closely by destiny. Valerius's orders are to join commander Marcus Antonius Primus and eradicate Vitellius's forces which stand between Vespasian and Rome. It's unfortunate to say the least that Primus would much rather enjoy the sight of Valerius's corpse than the thought of having the man among his staff. Valerius is driven, though, not just by his reprieve but also by the thought of Domitia, daughter of the great general Corbulo, and now living under the protection of Vespasian's brother Sabinus in Rome, not to mention the beady lecherous eye of the other son, Domitianus.

Enemy of Rome grabs the reader by the scruff of the neck instantly. The tension of the opening chapter is a force to be reckoned with and it is barely relieved through the course of the entire novel. The strength of this novel, and the others in the series, lies in the character of Valerius. Hero of Rome, his right hand lost in Britannia during the Boudiccan Revolt, his courage and honour is admired by all, even by those who want to kill him. But Valerius has no doubt of his mortality, unlike many he serves, and he is always conscious that in a civil war the enemy might be one's brother or friend. If a town is sacked during civil war, this is an outrage against one's own fellow citizens. Valerius never forgets the cost of war - he can see it everyday in his wooden fist - and he never loses sight of what matters the most. Valerius is a good man, vulnerable despite his strengths, who has been made a killer and this self-awareness shadowed by doubt is one of the many reasons why our hero stands out so tall and fascinating.

The novel is divided in two with much of the book dealing with war and all its complications and blood. Valerius and his servant (although he's far more friend than servant), Serpentius, are frequently to be found in the midst of battle or leading small numbers in lethal raids. The battle and skirmish scenes are second to none - vividly presented in terrifying detail with, poignantly, several personal stories brought to a close under a blade's edge or a horse's hooves. Finally, though, the war must reach the streets of Rome itself and the result is a conclusion that cannot be put down unfinished.

Quite apart from Valerius and Serpentius, there are other portraits that stand out in Enemy of Rome, especially, for me, Vitellius, the obese hungry emperor who loves his wife and his son, is wrapped in finery and false praise but wishes he were the man he used to be and not what he has become. One can see why Valerius liked him so much and why he had to oppose him. More, too, is revealed in Serpentius in this novel and it is clear that he is becoming a changed man. Vespasian lives in the wings of Enemy of Rome. I can't wait to see what Douglas Jackson does with him.

Douglas Jackson is a fine writer whose recreation of past lives and places is enriched with a thorough historical and military knowledge and impressive insight. He knows all about pace and action but he is also one of those authors who makes the reader feel that they are witnessing history - and what a period of history this is to be brought alive.

Enemy of Rome is the fifth novel in the Gaius Valerius Verrens series. It could stand alone if asked but why deny yourself the pleasure of starting this series from the very beginning? That would be Hero of Rome which contains scenes that remain my favorite of all Roman historical fiction. I'm grateful for the review copy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure about this book., 14 Sep 2014
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After the previous books I thought this would have more action than it did. I hope the next book in the explains why Domitia does not go with Valerius, and the jumped up stand in gets what is due to him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For those readers who like reading about Rome or anything relating to the Roman ..., 12 Sep 2014
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For those readers who like reading about Rome or anything relating to the Roman era then this is a must
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Enemy of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens 5)
Enemy of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens 5) by Douglas Jackson (Hardcover - 28 Aug 2014)
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