Customer Reviews


79 Reviews
5 star:
 (59)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just gets better and better
Review

When i first picked up Wounds of Honour in 2009 i had no idea i would be starting a journey of so much danger, excitement and action. Also when starting with a debut writer i had no idea i would be enjoying these books more and more every year, watching the skill of the writer grow and the depth of the plot increase with every tome.

Book 7 the...
Published 5 months ago by Parm

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best in series
This book is all about vengeance, not much happens and what does is a bit dull. However the constant threat of discovery followed by painful death that hangs over the main character needed clearing so the story could move on. I look forward to the next book and hope it's up the the usual high standard.
Published 3 months ago by Joe Samuels


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just gets better and better, 13 Feb 2014
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Emperor's Knives (Empire) (Hardcover)
Review

When i first picked up Wounds of Honour in 2009 i had no idea i would be starting a journey of so much danger, excitement and action. Also when starting with a debut writer i had no idea i would be enjoying these books more and more every year, watching the skill of the writer grow and the depth of the plot increase with every tome.

Book 7 the Emperors Knives goes so much further than its predecessors, it truly is a book crammed with Machiavellian schemes, plots within plots, as our group of heroes try to help Marcus survive his honour and the machinations of the various schemers set against him within the walls of Rome. As with any Anthony Riches book the reader is left with that ever present feeling of the norns / fates, sat there spinning away the destinies of those in the book, Tony Riches joining them at the loom of life ready to snip an unsuspecting characters life thread at a moments notice either in a spectacular or blasé fashion. I shall not spoil the book by saying if anyone interesting dies…. but blood will be spilled and as writers go Tony is a bit of a swine to his men.

This book comes with a warning to readers, it is one that sucks away your time, you will sit down to read and find that the day has passed while you are marching with legions and uncovering plots. As ever i doff my cap to Tony Riches as he exceeds the plot and power of the previous book, something very very hard to keep doing, but the constant hard work and effort, the striving for more, the digging for detail in dusty research books, and the re-enactment that gives first hand experience, really pays off in the pages of this wonderful book.

I highly recommend this book, and if you have not read any of the Empire series (Why?) then please do start it now, you will not be disappointed. Seven books in and its just getting better and better.

(Parm)

if you want to see a great Q&A from the author go visit parmenionbooks.wordpress (.com) always good to peek behind the author curtain.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, 19 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Emperor's Knives (Empire) (Hardcover)
Anthony Riches Empire series goes from strength to strength with every succeeding novel, for me The Emperor's Knives is the best yet, without giving away spoilers, the narrative is, as usual fast paced (so much so that I was up until 2 in the morning ) all ones senses are alerted, full of murky intrigue, the visceral gore of the gladiators and the arena, to the smells and sounds of every day life in ancient Rome. The characterisations of the main protagonists have been explored to the full and you end up with the feeling that you were there in another life. Highly recommended.
The perfect companion to this excellent series is THE ROMA VICTRIX wine beaker.Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Romans..., 28 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Emperor's Knives (Empire) (Hardcover)
This series of books is just amazing . So much so my son and I 'fight' over who reads the latest book first!
Anthony Riches writes with wit and humour and incredible historical knowledge, it makes one feel as if one is living in Roman times!
Can't wait for the next release.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting addition to the Empire series, 14 May 2014
This review is from: The Emperor's Knives (Empire) (Hardcover)
The latest instalment in Anthony Riches' Empire series is The Emperor's Knives. After a stint in Dacia and a short stay in Britannia, this outing takes Marcus and friends to the Eternal City, the Capital of the World, Rome itself. All of our favourite Tungrians are along for the ride and in Rome we meet some old acquaintances in the form of Senator Decimus Clodius Albinus, who we last saw in Dacia while still a legatus, and Tiberius Varius Excingus, someone Marcus last saw before his stay in Germania. These links are revealed early on, though never explained in-depth, but enough for a new reader to understand their context. And if that wasn't enough, there are gladiators! All of which makes for an exciting mix and a riveting story.

The book is filled with conspiracies and double crosses and no one's alliances are what they appear to be on the surface. Especially since Excingus' loyalties are for sale to the highest bidder and he also has his own agenda, which makes untangling the lines between all the players doubly complicated. In some cases, the mysterious talks become too mysterious, as at one point Scaurus has a talk with someone, whose identity I still haven't figured out. It's quite possible however that those who've read the entire series will know who this patron was. I also liked how Riches showed how quickly alliances in Rome could shift based on politics, honour, and personal gain.

Despite Excingus' ample help, almost leading Marcus and friends by the nose, in tracking and dealing with them, I was surprised by the apparent ease with which the first three Knives were dispatched. While the Tungrians are good, this was rather too easy. However, it does leave us free to follow Marcus in his quest to kill the last Knife, which forms the meat of the story. Marcus together with one of his fellow Tungrians joins the Dacian Ludus as a gladiator, so he can get close to Mortiferum, the last of the Emperor's Knives who killed his family. I loved this look at the inner workings of a gladiator school and the Flavian Amphitheatre better known as the Colosseum. There is an interesting metaphor for modern day celebrity culture to be found in the way gladiators became virtual slaves in order to win fame and fortune and the adulation of the people. Granted, not all gladiators became one by choice, it was also a punishment for criminals and the fate of many prisoners of war.

The philosophy behind this tale of revenge is interesting as in the end, Marcus himself admits revenge is hollow, feeling only emptiness once his revenge was accomplished instead of the satisfaction he'd expected to feel. There is a strange morality to this book where death is treated as an everyday occurrence and as a means of entertainment for the masses. In the previous two Empire books I've read the body count was equally high, but fascinatingly it only became disturbing in The Emperor's Knives. In all likelihood, this is due to the fact that many of the previous deaths took place in battle and this is a natural outcome of war, while the deaths in this book are often quite premeditated, not only killing those marked for vengeance, but also relatively innocent bystanders, whose biggest crime was for example drawing guard duty on the wrong night. And of course, the blood-letting in the arena, where men, women, and beasts are sent out to die in horrible combat or other indignities--the larger the amount of blood spilled, the louder the watching crowds cheered. Marcus is an honourable man, he's never written as anything less, yet in this book he's also a cold-hearted killer, killing everything standing between him and the objects of his revenge, something that felt jarring and a little disturbing.

There is also a lot of humour and ingenuity in The Emperor's Knives. I loved the ruse the Tungrians set up to protect Felicia, when she goes to live in her father's house in the city of Rome, instead of the cohorts' barracks. The barber shop is fantastic and quite funny, especially the way that the less-than-reputable standard bearer Morban runs the shop. In the scenes in the shop and throughout the book there is an enormous amount of banter to be found; often it's off-colour and low-brow, at times dry or acidic, but it feels genuine and adds comic punctuation for the darker scenes in the book. My favourite addition to the cohorts' forces was the group of engineers headed by Avidus, as sappers are a special breed and I hope they'll be around in the next book as well.

The Emperor's Knives is a wonderful addition to the Empire series. Rounding out a multiple book story arc with Marcus' family avenged, it'll be interesting to see where Riches will take Marcus and the Tungrians next, especially given the commissions handed out at the end of the book. I'm really glad that I took a chance and started the Empire series five books in, as the three I've now read are excellent and Marcus and company make for great entertainment. While The Emperor's Knives needs perhaps a bit more grounding in the series than the previous two books, it still stands alone exceedingly well. If historical fiction set in the Roman Empire is to your taste, you can't afford to miss The Emperor's Knives.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riches does the best Roman books for me and many others are excellent,which says it all, 4 May 2014
By 
Christopher J. Eley "Chris Eley" (Chichester Sussex UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Emperor's Knives (Empire) (Hardcover)
I have been reading books about the Romans since schooldays back in 1959 and Rosemary Sutcliffe and to date this author has hit the spot for me above all others around currently-which is a difficult thing to do given the exclllence of the competition. This is the latest in a ine of novels about 'Two Knives' and each story is of the same standard as the previous. If you love this genre that I feel sure you will really come to appreciate Anthony Riches.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book, 27 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Emperor's Knives (Empire) (Hardcover)
this book was ordered as a present for one of my grandchildren. so I will not be able to give you an accurate appraisal until after their birthday
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as those it follows, 30 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Emperor's Knives (Empire) (Hardcover)
I could hardly wait to get my hand on the latest adventure of "Two Knives" and wasn't disappointed by what I read, and hope that more will follow
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best in series, 20 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is all about vengeance, not much happens and what does is a bit dull. However the constant threat of discovery followed by painful death that hangs over the main character needed clearing so the story could move on. I look forward to the next book and hope it's up the the usual high standard.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riches continues to just get better with every book, 15 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Emperor's Knives (Empire) (Hardcover)
What can I say by book 7?

If you're a fan of the Roman era and you read books, then if you haven't started the Empire series by now, I can only assume you've been living in a darkened closet hiding from the CIA and living on pizza pushed under the door. Riches has solidly secured himself a place among the giants of Historical Fiction, vying with the likes of Ben Kane, Douglas Jackson and Manda Scott in terms of style, plot, character and readability.

If you are that pale frightened figure in the closet, risk the CIA spotting you, and rush out to a bookstore. Or buy from Amazon and have it delivered to your door. It's worth risking the possibility that Chuck and his black-suit-clad pals will find you. And here's why:

Most writers have trouble with such a long series, I think. Even the greatest (witness Sharp for example) hit a lull where it becomes formulaic and sags for a while. To keep things fresh through seven books it quite impressive on its own.

The `EMPIRE' series has managed just that. In fact, I would say now, looking back over the series, that the first three books are much in a vein with one another as straight military history beat-em-ups with a little betrayal and secrecy stuff and a smattering of politics thrown into the mix. From book 4, however, Riches clearly decided that more could be done with his characters and began to expand the scope of the series. From German bandits and sacred woods to Romanian gold mines and Imperial betrayal and then back to Britain for a book and a covert mission that will overturn everything and leave our hero in the eternal city, the series exploded into variety and excitement on a previously undreamed-of level.

The characters became more complex and understandable, the settings more exciting and vivid, the plots more twisty and turny and fascinating, and all in all, the books endlessly readable.

The Emperor's Knives is the culmination of one particular story arc in the series. This is not a shock to anyone keeping up, just from the title. If you've got through, say, four or five of the books, you probably already have an inkling of what's coming in this volume.

If you're new to the series, check out reviews of the others and then come back. If you want to avoid the chance of spoiling things in the series so far, look away now and come back to the capitals...

So....

Look AWAY, I said!

Yes, Corvus/Aquila being back in Rome gives him the perfect opportunity to put old ghosts to rest and deal with the infamous group of imperial covert killers who have been murdering the aristocracy on imperial orders and acquiring their cash and land for the throne. A senator, a mob-boss, a Praetorian officer and a champion gladiator. All marked for death by our hero. But how will he go about it?

New characters are introduced, about whom we are already aware (including those who originally trained Marcus in the martial skills) and old enemies reappear in stunning `Bastard-o-colour'.

Yes, this is the culmination of the `Aquila family betrayal and murder' plot, but then you knew that from the title! In this case, it's not about the destination, but about the journey. And what a ride. Corvus is about to get revenge in spectacular fashion.

OK. BACK TO THE NON-SPOILER STUFF

Be prepared. If you know Riches' work then by now you'll know he's got a tendency to throw in a few curveballs to wrong-foot the reader and screw his expectations. You're gonna get that. In spades. Several times in this, I found myself saying `Oh? Oh, right. Well, then...' and then going back to the story.

Corvus/Aquila doesn't grow as a character, because he doesn't need to. At this point he's as fully fleshed out as he ever needs to be. More would just be OTT. But he does get some fantastic scenes, speeches and moves. And the supporting cast DO grow. Particularly Scaurus, who I already loved. New characters have appeared, some of whom will likely run through more books in the series, and some of whom are the stronger characters Riches has yet created.

The tale completes the aforesaid particular story arc but goes beyond, tying in more threads, and the end puts in place something for book 8 that I've been waiting for for ages. It is very easy when tying up a massive plot arc to leave it feeling either twee or contrived or both. This does not do so, though. This volume concludes in a most satisfactory and not entirely expected manner, leaving a couple of threads for future books and the reader feeling sated.

Riches' books, though, have two strengths which have always been in evidence and only grow with each release: They are break-neck paced, in the same fashion as Mike Arnold's civil war books, dragging the reader along in breathless admiration. And they are so realistically readable. There is simply no effort involved. You open the book and let go and the story whisks you along without any hard work. All in all, Riches is clearly still getting better with every book, which by book 7 is quite impressive!

It's out now. BUY IT, or I'll tell the CIA where you live and stop the pizza deliveries! Oh, and as a special incentive, the hardback includes a short story that you DO NOT WANT TO MISS!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The action moves to Rome - brilliant Roman historical fiction!, 27 Feb 2014
By 
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Anthony Riches' Empire series has become essential reading for any fan of Roman history and historical fiction. It excels not just because of the standard of writing and the historical detail - which are always second to none - but because each book is different, each book surprises and thrills, while giving us more quality time with some of my very favourite Romans: Marcus Valerius Aquila and his cohort of larger than life Tungrians. Riches has refined his Empire recipe now to perfection. No surprises then that the seventh, The Emperor's Knives, is a candidate for the title of best of the series while also continuing the trend of being entirely different from any of the wonderful books that precede it.

It is extremely difficult to review a book that is seventh in a long running series. While you could undoubtedly read and enjoy The Emperor's Knives without having read any of the others, I must recommend that you instead start from the beginning and get to know and love these Tungrians and their officers just as much as I do. This review inevitably contains information about what has gone before, not least because The Emperor's Knives is a pivotal novel in the series and has a lot to do with how things ended in The Eagle's Vengeance. Having uttered my words of warning, I'll continue.

The Empire books might be one series but there are sub-series within it. The first three novels introduce our characters - Marcus, Scaurus, Dubnus, Julius, Arminius, Qadir, Martos and Felicia and others - on their missions along and north of Hadrian's Wall. In The Leopard Sword (book 4), the cohort moves away from the familiar into the unknown on the continent, discovering a whole host of new enemies and threats to do combat with. The individual adventures, of which there are many, are just one side to the novel; the other is the struggle of Marcus Valerius Aquila to survive to wreak vengeance on the agents who slaughtered his family in Rome. In The Emperor's Knives, following the outstanding confrontation of the last novel's conclusion, this reaches a head. This book marks a turning point in Marcus's story, moving the emphasis away from the Roman army and shifting it towards Roman politics with the action set in the very heart of Rome itself. This is a totally different enemy and it is embodied by the emperor's Knives, a small band of men whose fearful control of Rome Marcus and his legate Scaurus are determined to end.

The Emperor's Knives is a pageturner from start to finish. We know Marcus and Scaurus so well now that we fully understand how driven they are. After all this time, the end is in sight and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that they or their men will not do to win vengeance. The Tungrians themselves are billeted in Rome, waiting for their next orders, so they have plenty of time to help their officers in their plan and what an elaborate, satisfying plan it is too. We do spend time with the old favourites - there is still time for a laugh and mischief - but the mood is different. This is much more personal. There are also new characters to get to know as we're immersed in the contradictory worlds of politicians and gladiators. Another bonus here is the wonderfully-realised city of ancient Rome. I'll never look at the Colosseum with the same eyes again.

As is to be expected, there is violence and blood, vile language and gore. There is rage and fury by the cartload. There are also twists and surprises around every corner. The Emperor's Knives has a fantastic plot. It's thrilling but it's also clever. You just never know what horrors Anthony Riches is going to force upon our Tungrians next and that is as true in this book as it is in all the others. You've just got to hold on, keep an eye on your favourites and hope for the best.

The Empire series is set to run and run and if there is one series that can retain its freshness and exuberance, it's this one. Which is just as well because each addition to the series is a highlight of my reading year. Long may it continue. I'm grateful for the review copy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Emperor's Knives (Empire)
The Emperor's Knives (Empire) by Anthony Riches (Hardcover - 13 Feb 2014)
13.79
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews