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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid beginning for a remarkable man
With a whole host of books out there featuring the roman army in action, an author has to do something a little different or special to get their title not only noticed but also read by the literal army of potential fans out there. What Robert Fabbri does in his debut novel is place one of the most intruiging Roman Emperors who rose to this elevated position during the...
Published on 10 May 2011 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog

versus
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical detail - storytelling still work in progress
It is very clear that Robert Fabbri knows his history, and you get detail here in abundance, down to the minutest detail of the organisation of Roman legions on the march, how stockades are constructed and the mechanics of the fighting. Hand-to-hand combat is described in unflinching detail, with numerous disembowellings, decapitations and blindings.

There is...
Published on 8 Aug 2011 by Kenneth F. Mcara


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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid beginning for a remarkable man, 10 May 2011
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
With a whole host of books out there featuring the roman army in action, an author has to do something a little different or special to get their title not only noticed but also read by the literal army of potential fans out there. What Robert Fabbri does in his debut novel is place one of the most intruiging Roman Emperors who rose to this elevated position during the "Year of the Four Emperors" (AD 68-69).

Here Robert takes Vespasian from his young beginnings and weaves a magical tale for the reader that will see him rise due to his natural talents. It's cleverly written, the principle protagonist comes to life within the pages and the reader really is in for a treat as the book unveils its tale through clever prose and steady pace almost matching the legionaries of ancient Rome itself. All in this book is a decent beginning for a great story and a solid debut for a new author. It's definitely going to be interesting to see how Robert develops over subsequent titles.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Debut, 12 Jun 2011
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
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When i first read about this book I was sceptical, The cover looked...well a bit naff and comical, and for me the cover can be a big lead in for the book, the synopsis had the potential to make this a true Scarrow rip off..BUT, it is Vespasian, one of the more interesting emperors, a man involved in so many great events in the history of Rome.

So could this Robert Fabrri fella pull it off?
Yes is the simple answer, in fact he does it in style, the book is very well written, well plotted, well paced, naturally great characters, and the fact blended with the fiction , to bring us Vespasian from Birth.

So instead of a cheap imitation we have possibly a new contender alongside Simon Scarrow, Anthony Riches, Ben Kane, Conn Iggulden, Douglas Jackson etc and the top of this genre....an equally competent well written book two will show us that.

This is a highly recommended Debut.
(Parm)
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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First in a series. Stunning debut novel for fans of Roman fiction!, 8 May 2011
By 
Dor "Dor" (Lincolnshire) - See all my reviews
Whenever I see a debut book form an author who's obvious agenda is to target the Scarrow's "Macro and Cato" series which are such good fun, I always have to remember that they're never going to make the grade. After reading Fabbri's debut novel today I can honestly say it was fantastic. Detailed, entertaining, atmospheric and with the usual epic battle scenes this really is a novel that feels like it should have been screened as part of HBO's Rome series which was a masterpiece and stunningly entertaining. There's little point in summarizing the storyline as you can read that for yourself in the product description. All I can say is, if you're a fan of Roman historical fiction this is an absolute must! Buy it, you won't be disappointed and although this novel won't change the world, you'll certainly end up fully immersed in the Roman legions for a few hours!
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vespasian: Tribune of Rome!, 3 May 2011
By 
Je Salter (UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the debut novel of Robert Fabbri, the first book about the life of Vespasian who was eventually involved in the invasion of Britain in AD43 and who later went onto to become Emperor. The book starts with his birth where sacrifices are made and great things are foreseen about the forthcoming life of the young man. The story then jumps to a fifteen year old youngster who is intent on looking after his parents farm and lands from raiders.

Robert Fabbri manages to create a great atmosphere surrounding Vespasians early days on the farm where he fights to protect his live stock from local thieves. When his elder brother Sabinus returns home from the legions they are instructed by their father to take their local freedmen and slaves and seek out the thieves and make an example of them, which they set off to do in the first action of the story.

As a result of their success their father (an ex soldier himself) takes them to Rome to meet their uncle with promises of serving the Empire, Sabinus in the mint and Vespasian as a young Tribune in the army. From the outset there is deceit and treachery especially for the younger brother who has to virtually fight his way out of Rome with the help of Magnus, a man used by his uncle when skulduggery occurs or is required.

After joining his legion, he is quickly in the midst of the action in Thrace where all isn't as it appears to be. There are set piece battles, torture and executions galore and a sense of humour that's very squaddie like, that adds to the sense of believability. Young Vespasian performs well throughout all these encounters and slowly becomes a respected thin stripe Tribune.

Robert Fabbri has produced a book of high quality with a story that makes you want to know what happens next at every twist and turn. His descriptions are vivid and realistic, the detail superb and the sense of humour great. It is apparent that Mr Fabbri knows his stuff and if you like Simon Scarrow, Ben Kane, Anthony Riches or Douglas Jackson, here's another author to look out for. This is a great start to a promising storyline and more excellent books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent start: please keep it up!, 29 May 2011
By 
JPS - See all my reviews
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This one is an excellent start to a new serie from a new author. The topic is the life of the first Flavian Emperor - Vespasian. Although very little is known of his younger years, Fabbri manages to tell the story in a convincing and realistic way. The cut-throat (quite literally!) and ultra competitive political climate in Rome at the time of Emperor Tiberius is particularly well described.

There is of course nothing in the historical sources about Vespasian being hunted by Sejanus' Pretorians, if only because if they had been, his promising career would have ended kin some ditch somewhere. Inspiration obviously comes from A. Riches (for the hunted young officer) and perhaps also from Scarrow. However, there is no obvious copying.

The author has clearly done his research work. For instance, Antonia's slave girl that Vespasian is in love with was a historical person. She remained his mistress for her whole life. Also, Vespasian did have an elder brother with a military background who helped him but died before he became emperor. A great read: you won't be able to let it down...
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical detail - storytelling still work in progress, 8 Aug 2011
By 
Kenneth F. Mcara "Kenneth F. McAra" (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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It is very clear that Robert Fabbri knows his history, and you get detail here in abundance, down to the minutest detail of the organisation of Roman legions on the march, how stockades are constructed and the mechanics of the fighting. Hand-to-hand combat is described in unflinching detail, with numerous disembowellings, decapitations and blindings.

There is an interesting tale to be told here, and Fabbri can be seen developing his writing style through this first novel - it is much more accomplished by the end than it was at the beginning. Characterisation is not a strength yet, and many of those that we read about are two-dimensional at best, making it difficult for us to care about them.

If you are after a ripping yarn, enjoy historical detail about Roman life and aren't too bothered about skilful or subtle storytelling, then you will want to read this. Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles and Robert Harris' Pompeii, Imperium and Lustrum are there for those who would like more accomplished novels to read.

A good start, though, at a very attractive price on Kindle. Let's hope that Fabbri continues to develop his writing talents so that they match his undoubted historical knowledge.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good fictional introduction to the life of Vespasian, 12 Feb 2012
By 
Sukanya Ramanujan (Chennai, India) - See all my reviews
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I picked up 'Vespasian: Tribune of Rome' at an airport bookshop during one of those long waits between flights. Being someone with a keen interest in Ancient Roman History, I am always on the lookout for new books (both fiction and non-fiction) on the subject. In this book Robert Fabbri writes a fictionalised account of the early life of Vespasian (from his birth until the point of the beginning of his tribunician stint. Vespasian is one of the lesser known of Roman historical figures (at least relative to Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero and the like).
I started reading the book with very low expectations- (a) I had no idea who Robert Fabbri was and (b)There is normally a tendency to 'dumb down' or 'sensationalise' history to appeal to a broader swathe of readers and the first few pages of the book somehow tended to confirm this sentiment with a fairly annoying preachy style (defining every Latin term from a Triumph to Impluvium and so on). It seemed like Fabbri almost wanted to show off how much he knew more than the average layman about Rome. The humour and the narrative in the first section also seemed a little forced.
However the narrative does pick up some speed and style almost as soon as Vespasian enters Rome and the book quickly becomes a page turner. Fabbri does an excellent job of describing chariot races and battles (though if too much of blood and gore are not for you- then I would advise you to skip it). The author also does a good job of giving a view into the high political games that were played in Ancient Rome (though I guess history has already done more than half the work for him).
True to it being a fictional tale, a lot of the events in the book are manipulated though none are out of character- so the book doesn't jarr at any point once it picks up speed.
In all the book is a fairly good light read- something you can read in a few evenings on a weekday without your having to apply yourself too much to it, but at the same time giving you an interesting glimpse into the wonder that was Rome.
Out of all the characters in the book (excluding Vespasian- who I guess being the protagonist is fairly well sketched out)- Magnus- the veteran soldier, now ring leader of one of the crossroads maffia who lands up accompanying Vespasian in his adventure is the one who is most enjoyable and likeable. You almost feel in someway that he is a 'Gandalf' of sorts. And it is good to know that Fabbri has released a book on Magnus (Kindle Edition)THE CROSSROADS BROTHERHOOD which I promptly purchased.
I was torn between giving this book 3 and 4 stars but ultimately I am a sucker for Roman History and this was a good read so four stars it is!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tribune of Rome Vespasian, 13 Aug 2011
The first but hopefully not the last historical novel by Robert Fabbri. A real page turner crammed with
historical facts from a man who knows his subject. His vivid description immerses the reader in the loyalties
and disloyalties of the Roman empire in which this book is set. I could not put the book down until I had read
the very last page. In my humble opinion Robert Fabbri can take his place with so many renowned authors of
historical novels. I am looking forward to seeing his next and all subsequent novels of this era. Don't stop
writing Robert Fabbri as I am sure that future novels will be deservably winners.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great start to an exciting new series on Rome, 5 Aug 2011
By 
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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It's about time a novel was written about this fascinating emperor - spymaster to Lindsey Davis' Falco, key to the invasion of Britannia and builder of the Colosseum. The 99p kindle price didn't hurt either. I'm so glad I spent it. Fabbri takes us back to the young Vespasian, looking after his father's estates in the provinces. As he gets a little older it's time for him to add military experience to administrative knowhow and he and his rather unpleasant brother set off for Rome in search of the right posting to secure honour and wealth for their family. Mixing with the elite of Rome, it's not long before the young men are caught up in the intrigues of the court of Tiberius, most of which circle around Sejanus and Antonia who are mortal enemies.

When Vespasian, with the eager help of none other than Caligula, rescues Antonia's captive maid from the clutches of Sejanus, he has no choice but to flee Rome with the Praetorian Guard at his heels and his thug of a bodyguard Magnus for company. He heads for Thracia and, in a case of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, earns his military boots facing a massive rebellion of the local tribes. There is no escape from Rome's intrigue even here as Vespasian questions the role of Rome's leaders in the revolt.

Vespasian is an immensely exciting book. Its second half is full of battles, mixed with the intense hours waiting for the first blows. The first half, however, can match it, notably with a brutal chariot race and the machinations of court life. The book is full of meticulous and fascinating knowledge that brings the streets and blocks of the city of Rome to life, as well as the countryside, roads and military camps of the empire. Vespasian's story is in extremely capable hands and I look forward to the next chapter in his life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Debut, 9 May 2011
This was a cracking debut book from Robert Fabbri. It is a well written and a well paced book which kept me hooked for the whole day.
He has developed the characters and created an interesting partnership between Vespasian and Magnus which I hope he develops further. I look forward to the next book.

Tribune of Rome (Vespasian)
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Tribune of Rome: VESPASIAN I
Tribune of Rome: VESPASIAN I by Robert Fabbri (Paperback - 1 Nov 2011)
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