Top critical review
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Obviously knowledgeable and detailed, but stuffy dialog.
on 7 September 2012
The previous review covers more the historical aspects of the book (all fantastic and highly detailed).
I'll look at it briefly as a book to be read.
Broadly speaking, whilst the story moves along at a fair old pace, for me the book falls down whenever there are passages of dialog.
Everyone apparently speaks in exactly the same way, same manner, irrespective of which language they are being quoted from. If you were to take snippets of dialog out, remove all names from it and present them all, they would not be distinctive enough to seperate male from female, hero from villain, roman from gaul. This means that characterisation suffers as there isalmost no way of telling the protagonists apart when they are speaking.
The other issue with the dialog is that, if you remove the quotes, it simply becomes more descriptive world-building.
Apparently, everyone has something to say in order to add a history lesson and a descriptive passage of dialog rapidly turns into worldd-building prose.
In the end, I started to speed-read my way through and must have missed how the girl he first 'met' became the girl with a different name he fell in love with and eventually married.
Anyway, as I said, historically accurate, very detailed but the dalog isthe weak point.
For gritty battles ad (fr me) superior dialog/characterisation, you might want to consider Christian Cameron, Anthony Riches or Scott Oden.