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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book two follows in the same vein as book one - A detailled, authentic read
This was a very rewarding read and a great second book which maintains the high standard set by the initial book `Fire in the East'.

Its educational quality is superb and the intricate level of detail that the author has incorporated into the story is outstanding. You will certainly learn more about Roman life, customs and etiquette as you progress through the...
Published on 20 Oct 2009 by J. Cooper

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Et tu Sidebottom?
This book is a bit of a stab in the back after the first, very good, book in this series 'Fire in the East'. The story goes all over the place; in fact there is no real story as such, more a bunch of stuff that happens: he goes there, he does that; he comes here, he does this; he goes back again...etc etc. It's a little dull, and the subplot involving an assassin does not...
Published on 26 Mar 2010 by SJJones


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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book two follows in the same vein as book one - A detailled, authentic read, 20 Oct 2009
By 
J. Cooper (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This was a very rewarding read and a great second book which maintains the high standard set by the initial book `Fire in the East'.

Its educational quality is superb and the intricate level of detail that the author has incorporated into the story is outstanding. You will certainly learn more about Roman life, customs and etiquette as you progress through the book. The text contains frequent Latin words and phrases which will require you to break from the story in order to consult the glossary at the back of the book. Readers of the first book will realise that this is now firmly established as part of the author's writing technique and helps to craft a more authentic read.

Ballista's career and association with the Emperor Valerian alternates between periods of favour and near disgrace. It is these periods of near disgrace that see Ballista being handed some of the less honourable positions which result in the northern barbarian's involvement in dangerous and dramatic events.

This is a more detailed and perhaps slower paced read than Scarrow's Roman series, but that does not detract from the quality and enjoyment you will experience by reading this book. Scarrow's series is ideal when you are in the need of an action packed book which is swift to read. Harry Sidebottom's books are superb reading material for those interested in the Roman Empire who desire more detail and are prepared to allow the book time to achieve its full potential.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Admirable Sequel, 23 Sep 2009
By 
D. E. Franzen - See all my reviews
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An admirable sequel to the first Warrior of Rome volume, this King of Kings continues of the saga of the 3rd Century "crisis" in the Roman Empire through the character of Ballista, northern barbarian turned Roman warrior. Violent, but a gripping story. Amazing detailed reconstruction of the ancient world and especially ancient warfare, about which Sidebottom is a leading expert. Readers will have to wait until July 2010 for the conclusion of the series. It will be a hard wait, at least for me.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't leave me this way!!!!, 7 July 2010
Having zipped through a lot of the other reviews, a fairly strongly held view seems to be this is not as good as the first installment!

Well I agree in part with that but I think that is in no small way down to it being the 'set up book'. If I can make a footballing analogy this book is the cross into the box and I think the next in the series will be a spectacular volley into the net.

Sidebottem essentially with this book tells of the treachery of some of the Emperor's court and their cunning use of Ballista in this plot, however this is so cunningly told I only realised about the same time as Ballista himself so whilst enjoying the book a lot, I was a little bemused about what the actual 'story' was.

The book ends in highly unsatisfactory way, in that it left me screaming 'Nooo!' and shouting obscenities at Amazon because the next volume is not out and there are a few characters still living and breathing I want to see die in highly imaginative and colourful ways! Not that this is Amazon's fault.

I think the author has to take much credit for the emotion he has drawn from me. His character portrayals are such that I have a genuine fondness for the Ballista household especially his two celtic slaves. They are genuinly 3D, flawed human beings and some other writers in this genre could learn much from Sidebottem about characterisation.

The use of latin terminology and titles is still present but didn't jarr with me in the same way it did in the first volume. Whether this is because it is more subtly done or I have adjusted to his style I am not sure. It did still feel a little contrived and just un-needed. Tell the story and then refer me to where I can find all the genuine latin terminology, in the unlikely event I ever want to read it. But don't tell me a great story and then constantly interupt it with mini latin lessons!

Anyway I am now genuinley needing to read the next volume for my own psychological welfare due to the cliff hanger nature of this work, so Harry just you be careful crossing those busy roads!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING!, 13 Dec 2013
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Second in the Warrior of Rome series, King of Kings follows on from Fire in the East and does not disappoint.This latest episode finds Ballista the commanding General of the city of Arete (Dura-Europos) and one of the few survivors from the horrendous siege, having to bring the disastrous tidings to the Imperial court at Antioch, where he subsequently falls foul of the sinister and iniquitous advisor to the Emperor, Macrianus.

Once again Harry Sidebottom delivers, with this action packed narrative steeped in political intrigue, interwoven with in-depth historical fact. Highly recommended.
THE PERFECT COMPANION TO THIS EXCELLENT SERIES IS THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKER.Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book but kindle version suffers from terrible formatting, 28 July 2013
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This review is from: Warrior of Rome II: King of Kings (Kindle Edition)
This book was hard to put down but I had the Kindle version and the formatting was disgraceful. All of the quotation marks, commas etc. were represented by hieroglyphics
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as Book 1, 20 Dec 2012
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I've enjoyed book one and book two of this series. However the 'twists' aren't really twists at all, there is never a "oh my god I didn't see that coming" moment in either of the two books.

The strength of this series lies elsewhere, namely its successful recreation of a period of steep decline for the Roman Empire, likeable characters, deft philosophical underpinnings and a solid development and continuity from book 1 to book 2. Needless to say I have started book 3, Lion of the Sun, eager to find out how things will pan-out for the characters, book 2 ending on an abrupt note and cliff-hanger although the survival of the main character, Ballista, is never doubted, at least to my mind.

This is good Roman fic, maybe not on a par with the Eagle Series but pretty darn close.

Four stars (good - not great)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 4 Dec 2012
By 
Justin Guiney (Lisburn, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Warrior of Rome II: King of Kings (Kindle Edition)
This was a fantastic start to the Warrior of Rome series. Really connects you to the characters within the book. I found myself up in the middle of the night reading this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100%, 23 Nov 2012
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as described, very good condition, great author. I had looked for ages in countless shops but could not find it anywhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb sequel on a little known period, 21 Oct 2012
By 
JPS - See all my reviews
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This is volume 2 of Harry Sidebottom's Warrior of Rome series. It picks up the story of Ballista, the son of an Angle warlord who has been brought up at the imperial court as a hostage and become a Roman general, almost exactly where "Fire in the East" ended. I read this book almost three years ago, at a time when I did not post reviews. I have gone through it again today, and still found it almost as good as the first volume.

Again, but perhaps even more than in "Fire in the East", this volume displays the author's grasp for the so-called Third century AD crisis. This was when the Roman Empire was threatened and attacked simultaneously on most of its frontiers and when some sixty individuals were proclaimed Emperor in one part or another of the Empire. This is a period on which we know comparatively little, but Sidebottom brings it magnificently to life. Specifically, this volume tells the story of the last years of Emperor Valerian and the disastrous campaign against the Sassanid King of Kings that lead to his capture and to the destruction of his army. It also tells the story of the specific usurpation of Macrinus and his two sons, after they had betrayed Valerian to the Persians.

Another strong point of this book is to show both the growing influence of the Christians, especially in Asia and North Africa. Valerian resumed the persecutions against them, partly because he wanted to use them as scapegoats for his own failures against the Persians. Rome was seen as unsuccessful because the Christians had offended the Gods and betrayed the Emperor as they refused to sacrifice to the Gods and refused to bear arms. The persecutions at Ephesus really took place, although Ballista's role in them seems to have been invented by the author for the purpose of the story. The legend of the seven young men that had escaped the persecution and took refuge in a cave is also supposed to take place at this time. They supposedly woke up some seventy years latter without having aged, at the time of Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Emperor.

Anyway, the story is exciting. It is also well-told and, above all, it "feels and sounds" real, which is always a sign that the author has pushed all the right buttons, regardless of the few liberties that he might have taken with the (rather sparse) historical record. This is a real page-turner, a book that you are likely to read until all hours and get somewhat carried away with it. The battle scenes are still just as great as in the first volume. I was just a little bit less convinced with the assassination attempts, which, of course, are all un successful. Anyway, this is a great piece of historical fiction and certainly one of the best I have read over the last few years or so.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Feel., 1 July 2012
I'm reading this again for the first time in several years. It's an excellent book set during the struggle for domination in the 3rd century between the two super powers of the ancient world Rome and the Sassanians. The hero Ballista is an outsider, and is often the victim of petty spiteful prejudice from the Roman establishment. Despite this they are forced to use him again and again in order to try and save lost situations. Sometimes they use him in the hope and expectation that he won't come back.

The book is very well written, with very good characterisation and a strong sense of time and place. You can feel the sun beating down and hear the booming of the Sassanid drums. I recommend it.
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