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4.2 out of 5 stars22
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 26 February 2010
I'm not usually a reader of historical adventure novels, but a friend recommended this and I really was converted. Proper character development, intense adventure and clearly excellent research. I'll be looking out for more from this author.
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on 24 April 2010
The Half-Slave is unusual for Dark Ages fiction in that it doesn't try to add yet another take to the Arthurian legend or wallow in nostalgia for some long-forgotten Celtic era. Bloom focuses on the clash between the Franks and the Saxons and for once the Romans are shown not as arrogant world-conquerors, but as weak and uncertain, desperately trying to hold onto a rapidly-disintegrating power.

We see the struggle between the Germanic tribes as the Roman empire stutters to an end, and between the Franks, led by a nervy and calculating young Clovis (a real historical figure), and the Saxons who Bloom depicts plausibly as the terrorists of the day. Clovis himself is wonderful, a terrific mix of edgy neuroticism and brutal ambition.

The half-slave is Ascha, son of a Saxon warlord and a Romano-British mother, a reluctant hero, torn by divided loyalties and ambivalent feelings towards his clan. He makes mistakes and is forced to live by his wits, despised by Romans, Franks and Saxons alike, but deep down he is determined to do what is right and that in my view is what a real hero is all about.

Essentially a quest novel, Ascha faces many enemies but he also has friends - Octha the wily Frisian merchant; Herrad the love-interest; Tchenguiz the Hun; Lucullus, an enslaved Roman aristocrat; Basinia, queen of the Franks; - a diverse band which Bloom uses deftly to illuminate the conflicting interests of the time.

An intelligent and well-researched historical adventure written in a gritty and pacy style. Well worth a look.
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on 26 February 2010
This is a tremendous read. Politics and intrigue, love and death, all set in fifth century Europe. Trevor Bloom paints a vivid picture of the confusion and violence of the last days of the Roman Empire in this enthralling thriller.
The warring Northern tribes are massing to move into the vacuum left by the disintegrating Roman Empire. Ascha, the son of a Saxon warlord and a British slave mother, is forced to spy on both Saxon and Frankish leaders in pursuit of his own freedom.
I've never been particularly drawn to historical fiction, but devoured this story with excitement. Recommended!
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on 8 December 2012
I've not read anything by this author before, but will certainly be looking out for more of his work......I'm a bit more than half-way through THE HALF SLAVE and am totally immersed in it....fast-paced, eloquently told, and a story you can get your teeth into......highly recommended!
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on 17 May 2010
I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction but The Half Slave is superior to many such novels because of the subtlety woven through the book, in terms of character and plot. There are no certainties either for the reader or the protagonist, Ashca. His struggle for identity, considered, as an inferior by those with whom he identifies, The Theodi, and as an equal by those he should despise, the Franks, he is left wihh conflicting loyalties which his rising status is unable to resolve.

The novel rises above the average because Bloom never resorts to the clichés so common in this genre, instead he focuses on the human rather than swords and sandals.

The relentless pace and endless twists and turns will keep you reading to the end.
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on 22 May 2010
I'm an avid reader of historical fiction and always on the lookout for first class new writers in the genre. And I've found one: Trevor Bloom.
The Half Slave covers the facinating period when Rome had lost control of its Empire and the Gaulish Tribes were vying with each other for power. The story revolves around Asha, a half-slave (half-slave being a netherland between freedom to carry weapons and being nothing) who is trying to come to terms with his unenviable position in society: Loved by his father who cannot acknowledge him publicly, sneered at my his half brothers and peers. Through the courageous action of standing up against his hot tembered half brother, he saves the life of a man destined for great power and because of this is singled out to play an important role in the coming war. This is a terrific action packed read as we travel with Asha across a Europe in chaos in search of his identity.
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on 8 December 2012
I purchased this novel with the expectation that I would be slightly disappointed since it places itself firmly in a genre that is wonderfully exploited by other more well known authors. I was entirely wrong since this novel stacks up equally in more illustrious company with ease. Anyone who enjoys Cornwells work will without doubt enjoy this equally. Highly recommended.
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on 14 December 2012
A really good read, very well written,in the genre of Bernard Cornwell. Credible characters, and a storyline with twists and turns that kept me from putting the book down. If you like historical fiction, you won't be disappointed.
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on 8 December 2012
Written in a simplistic style this book nevertheless eventually draws you in. It is an interesting take on a period of European History not often visited and this alone makes it well worth reading.
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on 4 January 2013
I am a lover of well written and well researched historical novels and was attracted to this book as it was a daily deal at 99p. I was immediately convinced I was on a winner, it gripped me straight away, however, as I continued reading I found that there were too many characters with unusual names that I couldn't pronounce and so skipped over them. Eventually it became rather boring and drawn out, but I persevered to the end, which I must say was rather vague.
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