Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
A promising first book in the spirit of Scarrow, Iggulden & Cornwell
on 18 April 2009
I was hoping for shades of David Ball (Sword & Scimitar). But the beat of the book reminded me of early work of Bernard Cornwell (Sharpe's Rifles). I recall Cornwell's first books about Richard Sharpe were spartan efforts. Cornwell was still working out his story-telling voice. But the author of Libertas has Cornwell's same knack for characters. Unexpected heros, likable louts, or pitch-black villains. In short, this was Libertas for me. It's a promising first book told against the backdrop of pitched battle that Caesar fought in Southern Spain.
I liked the unlikely hero of Libertas, a smart Spanish boy who is a bad fighter and poor hunter, but who finds his true calling as an inventor of war machines. Shades of Archimedes. Along the way, inventor-hero Pito crosses paths with historical characters like Caesar, Sextus and Agrippa. Sextus and Agrippa were nicely done. I also enjoyed the author's take on the Celtic mountain people of Spain and desert Berber people of North Africa. United by a common thread of grace, fierceness, and integration with nature. Good stuff.
Finally, I have minor beefs with the book's detour into mysticism, the mountain shamans, and guardian eagles. Didn't work for me. This voodoo aside, the new author knows how to tell a good story. Buy it.