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4.7 out of 5 stars143
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 September 2013
I am a big fan of historical fiction but only found out about the Marius Mules series recently.
Finished the first book in two days then bought and rattled through the whole series in quick time.
Basically it follows one of Julius Caesar's Legion commanders (or Legate), Marcus Fronto, during the invasion of Gaul, each book taking one year of the campaign.
Marcus is a hard drinking soldiers' solider with little time for Politics which causes many clashes with not only Caesar but also some of the other commanders. He nevertheless is a masterful commander and doesn't mind getting his hands dirty to get the job done.
Well written and full of action, but also historically very informative.
Highly recommended.
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on 25 June 2013
I don't know if Mr Turney has struggled for a publisher, in an increasingly congested area of fiction, or whether he's chosen to go it on his own but he certainly deserves one! I picked up on the first Fronto novel a while ago and, against my better judgement, gave it a chance. Since then it's been a riveting series. The books are dense with knowledge, which never gets in the way of the storyline and you care about his heroes. I'm slightly annoyed that we're steered, as ever, into cheering on the romans but that's not Mr Turney's fault! The only wrinkle I can see is the quality of the setting/printing isn't always perfect but I'm happy to put up with that. Buy these books! They're far better than a lot of the mainstream historical novels on offer.
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on 8 July 2013
SJA Turney writes with the skill, fluency and detail a reader would expect from a successful novelist on their fifth instalment in a series and in MMV he has created a wonderful multi-layered story following the stories of two main characters, Fronto in Rome and Priscus in Gaul. The supporting cast is large and although that can be a little overwhelming they are all well drawn, interesting characters who all add to the richness of the story. His description of battle is riveting and he manages to capture the sheer horror and the gory brutality of war as it must have been for the men of the period. There is an earthy realism to Mr Turney’s writing and although it can be grim, it certainly makes for a gripping read.

I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of the twin storylines but I was occasionally aware that MMV is just one part of a series. Of course that means I will now seek out and buy the four books that preceded MMV so perhaps Mr Turney is one step ahead of me there!

As an e-book MMV is available for around half the price of a mocha-chocha-frapaccino. If that isn’t seriously good value then I do not know what is. I for one will happily buy all the books Mr Turney feels able to write and I am already looking forward to the next instalment in the Marius’s Mules series
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 August 2013
Once again Simon proves himself to be one of the best writers in the Roman fiction genre. It amazes me on a daily basis that he is also self published. Not only because of the quality scope and scale of his books, but also because of the quality of the writing, editing and publication. Simon Turney offers peerless research, tireless action packed prose and plotting. Plotting that any of those hitting the best seller lists would be envious of.
Not only does simon manage this with his Roman series but he is now doing it with The Thief's Tale (The Ottoman Cycle) his latest series. His self publication seems to allow his tireless hard work space to shine with multiple books a year, and of such quality all should read no matter the genre they love.
This 5th book in the Marius Mules series sees preparation for a little visit to the island of Britannia, an insight into the great Pompey and so much action it will make your head swim. The vivid imagery of rome, the cells, the sounds the smells. has no publisher had the sense to pick up the great writer!!??

Also the new covers are a triumph, and well worth collecting the whole series to have the combined set.
Long may this series continue.
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on 5 September 2013
I took a bit of a punt on the first Marius Mules novel and enjoyed it enough to keep going. The focus on the daily functioning of a legion on campaign and the inter-action of soldiers was an interesting viewpoint for me, as was Mr Turney's portrayal of Caesar. The battle scenes were also extremely well described - as good as anything I have read. There were some factual errors here and there but nothing too annoying, however my main criticism was that I found the dialogue a bit stilted and forced at times. I believe Mr Turney self-publishes, or at least did for the earlier books, which unfortunately meant a lot of typos in the kindle version.

However, the books have improved with each new installment and the dialogue has become much more "natural" with a good dose of humour thrown in. The fifth book in the series had me gripped from start to finish and there were very few typos for a kindle book. It seems to me that the author has grown and developed along with his main characters and has now hit his stride, with the result being a well paced, well written book with interesting characters and plot. I hope this carries on in the 6th book - due out next year I believe.
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on 4 September 2013
.... of Fronto and the myriad of amazing characters that Mr Turney has developed, blending fact and fiction into the most believable tales of battles, friendships, life, death, drinking, fighting, love and laughter - I could go on - around Rome and Julia's Caesar's campaigns across Europe

I started reading MM1 late last year after visiting Rome, Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius. I then read MM2, 3 and 4 in quick succession, and, as this one wasn't out, I then went back and read the first 4 all over again because I enjoyed them so much - and that does NOT happen very often!! We were even inspired to visit Brittany (Armorica) this year and the sites of some of Caesar and Crassus' battles! So all I can say is if you have an interest in this genre of book, or perhaps just wondered what it would be like to live in these times, then I am sure these books will not disappoint.

Anyway, all that is left to say is thank you Mr Turney for another enjoyable read and, how could I forget, for letting one of the ladies pitch into a fight this time too!
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on 27 June 2013
After reading Iggulden, Scarrow & Scott et al; I was searching for some more Roman Fiction and discovered this series by SJA Turney. The main character (Fronto) and his relationship with Caesar is an excellent place to journey through the wars of Julius Caesar.
This book moves Fronto from the army he loves to the dangers of Rome. The story moves at a great pace and switches from Rome to Gaul to Britannia at exactly the right times. Some interesting new characters and further development of the existing 'cast'. The first books had a few typos, but they don't detract from the quality of Mr Turney's storytelling just his 'spool-chucker'.
There is more to come from Fronto and Mr Turney, and I can't wait. Fronto is taking his rightful place alongside Macro, Cato, Pantera as a great character to experience the Roman World with. And SJA Turney looks like he is taking his place alongside Scarrow, Iggulden and Scott. Thank you SJA - more please, more!! (And in Hardback please - including Books 1 - 5!!)
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on 27 June 2013
I as I have said previously initially bought Marius Mules just to have something to read on my Kindle and because it was on offer. I wasn't expecting much but how wrong I was and I have since waited expectantly for every forthcoming edition. Marius Mules V does not disappoint. Straight into the action and all the action, vengeance, paranoia and back stabbing that we've come to expect from the higher echelons of Roman society. Well written characters that have developed as the series progressed as well as a clutch of new one both good and bad. All this and a rebellion too. What more could you ask for in a book. If your a fan of Roman fiction this is a series you should definitely read and even if your not not and just like a good story give it a go though I would say start from book 1 to get the full benefit.
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on 25 June 2013
Having read all Simon Turney's Marius' Mules books, I feel that Hade's Gate is his best in the series. Firstly it is well written. The principal characters have matured and developed and reading a new Marius' Mules book is becoming rather like meeting old friends. Good story line covering Julius Caesar's incursion into Britannia and the developing situation in Gaul on the one hand and Fronto's activities at home on the other. Basically the decks are clear for the next book in the Marius' Mules series. If it is anything like the quality of Hade's Gate and given the events of the time period in question, it should be a corker.

If you like Roman history at the end of the Republic and a strong story-line built around a credible central character you should try Marius' Mules.
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on 2 July 2013
Yes another episode in the life of Fronto. Forget Caesar's campaigns Fronto is the real centrepiece. A hero with a bad knee , getting fat and drinking far too much wine. I can relate to that. in this book we learn more about him and his failings. A real fictional character not some wooden meat grinding moron. Not much background, so you need to read the 4 earlier books to understand the content but never the less a very enjoyable read. Can`t wait for book VI

No bad stories from the author try any examples of his work and you will enjoy good storyline, fast page turning action and the odd surprise as characters depart. Let's go marching on.
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