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161 Reviews
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An immersive experience
I have no hesitation in recommending this to lovers of Roman military fiction, and indeed anyone else who enjoys a great tale. The book actually interested me a lot more than I expected, particularly due to the setting. I am a fan of Roman history and have a good grounding in the subject, but mostly in the late Republic and Principate era. This book is set during the dusk...
Published on 6 May 2011 by SJATurney

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs polish but a good Story
I enjoyed this book and congratulate the author for a great story. This could easily have been a five star review if the story was not riddled with anachronisms and several other errors that a good editor would point out before the work is published. I look forward to reading more from this author and hope his future work benefits from the polish that a good editor can...
Published on 11 Aug 2011 by HistoricalFictionLover


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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An immersive experience, 6 May 2011
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This review is from: Legionary (Legionary 1) (Kindle Edition)
I have no hesitation in recommending this to lovers of Roman military fiction, and indeed anyone else who enjoys a great tale. The book actually interested me a lot more than I expected, particularly due to the setting. I am a fan of Roman history and have a good grounding in the subject, but mostly in the late Republic and Principate era. This book is set during the dusk of traditional Rome, in the late 4th century, with the Emperor Valens, Comitatensis troops, bishops, Goths, Constantinople and the Black Sea region. I recently became interested in this era after visiting Istanbul and 'Legionary' just expanded on that, dragging me in.

The plot is complex and extremely well-constructed, far more neatly than I realised at first, with twists and cliffhangers. The settings are beautifully described and leave the reader with a well-presented view. The characters are believable, interesting and appropriately sympathetic or loatheful.

In short, this is well worth the price and the time. It is, simply, an excellent read. Sequel, mister Doherty?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Opening a window to the Eastern Roman Empire, 28 July 2012
By 
Martin Lake (French Riviera) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Legionary (Legionary 1) (Kindle Edition)
This novel is set in the Eastern Roman Empire at a time of grave crisis. It is a marvellous evocation of an empire which has been sadly neglected in the west. I felt transported to the embattled empire, seeing the sights, smelling the stench and hearing the clamour as if I were really there.

The novel drives forward at great pace. It takes the young hero from the fetid and threatening streets of Constantinople to the marches of empire and beyond. The writing is intense and vividly portrays the harshness and terror of life in a frontier army.

The main characters are interesting and realistic although the one question I have concerns the motives of young Pavo's arch-enemy. I was left wondering why he had acted in the way he did, the only slight judder in an otherwise very well plotted novel. Maybe this will become clearer in subsequent novels.

I loved the politics in this book, both small scale amongst the soldiers in the camp, and large scale in the machinations of the imperial court and upper reaches of the church. There is much good and evil here and not always where you look to find it.

There were many memorable characters and I felt real sorrow when some of them met grisly ends. The battle scenes were realistic and bloody without any gratuitous violence. If you harbour any doubts about how terrible war could be when only blades and spears were used this novel will give you a terrible answer.

A marvellous debut and I look forward to reading more of this author's work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legionary!, 13 Sep 2011
By 
Je Salter (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Legionary (Paperback)
Not being an e-reader 'yet', I took a chance and bought the paperback version of Legionary by Gordon Doherty. I say took a chance because self published books are an unknown quantity especially if you are going to buy a tangible book because they are more expensive than a the run of the mill paperback and in some cases you will pay the same or indeed more than you would for a hardback of an established author. Nevertheless I decided to give Legionary a go because of the subject matter and after reading SJA Turney's self published and very worthwhile Marius Mules, I knew that not all books of this nature are the devil.

So what did I think of Legionary? The book itself is 388 pages in length so its no small novel and is well written and I would guess edited in the same fashion, so the irritation that may have existed from poor spelling or grammar from a self published book (as I understand exists in some) wasn't there. The story revolves around the experiences of freedman Pavo who becomes 'the Legionary' at a very early age after gaining his freedom in AD 363, and joins the XI Claudio Legion in Rome's Eastern Empire based in Constantinople.

As the story develops the author really does enable the reader to 'live' through Pavo's eyes as he goes from recruit to experienced soldier and even before facing Rome's enemies in the forms of Goth's and Huns, has to survive and get through some quite brutal experiences which adds to the overall plot and remains with the reader and main character throughout. The novel easily allowed me to imagine where Pavo found himself with excellent descriptions of the environments, surroundings and characters. Gordon Doherty has created a book which made me want to know what happened next and I found myself disappointed when I had finished the story in a little less than three days.

So can Mr Doherty, a self published author write? In my humble opinion, yes he can and like Simon Turney he can write a well written and compelling novel that easily takes the reader to the place(s) where he has created for his characters. I think the sign of a good book is one that you don't want to put down and would read from cover to cover if your weary eyes let you, Legionary for me is one of those books and although my eyes got tired, I didn't about the story and so picked it up again the next day. I believe the sequel to Legionary is due out next year and I for one will be buying it.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Marvelous!, 7 April 2011
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This review is from: Legionary (Legionary 1) (Kindle Edition)
When I first purchased this ebook,I have to confess that I was a little apprehensive.
As a huge fan of Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow and David Gemmell, I was initially doubtful that this little known writer would be able to produce the goods.

I'm pleased to say, I couldn't have been more wrong!

'Legionary' is a fantastic story of heroism and deceit; love and camaraderie. It is well written with lavish detail of both characters and scene setting. It has gory battle scenes and enough cliff-hangers for you to want to keep on reading 'just one more chapter'. I found myself totally engrossed and just couldn't put it down!

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of this genre.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good debut, 20 July 2011
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Legionary (Legionary 1) (Kindle Edition)
Its not very often that you come across a debut novel this well constructed and written, let alone a self published one.

The plot is well rounded, plenty of cliff hangers and miss directions to keep the reader interested and turning the page.

There are plenty of battle/ fight scenes and they are not the weak gore fests that often flood the self publish world, they are constructed as if the author fought every swing of the sword in practise to make sure he knew it was possible and practical.

There are very few self published authors out there worth reading But SJ Turney and now Gordon Doherty are two you cant afford to miss, because they will not be around at this price for ever, i can see both being snapped up by agents and publishers very quickly.

well recommended

(Parm)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ian, 21 Oct 2011
This review is from: Legionary (Paperback)
There are many genres of Roman novels - some good, some bad. I thought this one was very good. Careful character construction & a fast-moving plot that kept me turning the pages. I pasrticularly liked the use of very short chapters to keep the story moving. I'd buy his next book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs polish but a good Story, 11 Aug 2011
This review is from: Legionary (Legionary 1) (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book and congratulate the author for a great story. This could easily have been a five star review if the story was not riddled with anachronisms and several other errors that a good editor would point out before the work is published. I look forward to reading more from this author and hope his future work benefits from the polish that a good editor can provide. I believe the author can spin a good tale and has a future if he can address the editorial and research issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good first in the series, 18 April 2014
This review is from: Legionary (Paperback)
I read this having just done the trip on the Simon Scarrow and S. J. A. Turney series which I might add were a very good read.

This author begins somewhat later into the Roman Empire and took just a little whole to get started but fair play, I stuck with it and I am pleased I did, the story got very interesting and became action packed and well with a bit of intrigue.

Yes, a darn good book and thankfully there are more of the series to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ave, 9 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Legionary (Legionary 1) (Kindle Edition)
Roman history is a well-ploughed field for writers of historical fiction, but Doherty has found an era, late in the decline and fall, which has not been overdone. The book is well written, and the various strands of the plot are skilfully woven together. The weapons, siege engines, and military organisation are accurately described, giving a solid and believable framework for an exciting story. I give it four rather than five stars, because in the later stages of the story there are too many hairsbreadth escapes, too many scarcely believable twists and turns in the action. This is a common fault in thrillers of all kinds, where the author cannot restrain himself from going over the top in resolving the plot. All in all, though, a good read, and I will pay the author the compliment of reading more of his stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legionary 1, 2 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Legionary (Legionary 1) (Kindle Edition)
Have just finished reading Legionary 1 - absolutely loved it. Took me a few chapters to get used to his style of writing, but then I was hooked.

Being an avid fan of messrs Scarrow, Iggulden, Kane, Turney and Cornwell I was a bit apprehensive about the ability of a relative newcomer to
achieve the same level of story telling as them, but I needn't have worried as he is right up there with them!

Thankfully there were hardly any typing or spelling errors - they really annoy me!

Have just started Legionary 2 and I feel as though I'm there, right beside Pavo and his men. I would thoroughly recommend these books to anyone
who has even the faintest interest in Roman or any other era of History.

Keep up the good work Gordon!
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