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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 September 2013
I am a big fan of historical fiction but only found out about the Marius Mules series recently.
Finished the first book in two days then bought and rattled through the whole series in quick time.
Basically it follows one of Julius Caesar's Legion commanders (or Legate), Marcus Fronto, during the invasion of Gaul, each book taking one year of the campaign.
Marcus is a hard drinking soldiers' solider with little time for Politics which causes many clashes with not only Caesar but also some of the other commanders. He nevertheless is a masterful commander and doesn't mind getting his hands dirty to get the job done.
Well written and full of action, but also historically very informative.
Highly recommended.
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on 23 March 2016
I fail to see how anyone can give this novel less than 5 stars. It's the best yet in the superb Marius' Mules series. The author bases his stories on historical events and writings of the period, but with characters of flesh, blood (lots of it) and emotion. We follow Fronto through his army career from book 1, although in this book, he has resigned from Caesar's army, married, and is fighting battles (still bloody) of a more personal nature. Who knew that ancient Rome was so lawless? At the same time, the army in Gaul experiences major challenges and losses. Nobody, imo, writes a battle scene as well as SJA Turney. However, this book should come with a word of warning. If, like me, you are dining alone and take your Kindle along to the restaurant, Chapter 4 should not be read whilst eating - especially if you chose meatballs! The scenes of torture in the latrines do not make for comfortable reading. Neither do the descriptions of the gladiator games in Rome that Fronto attends. The author pulls no punches with his very graphic descriptions. If you haven't tried reading Turney yet, you should.
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on 4 September 2013
.... of Fronto and the myriad of amazing characters that Mr Turney has developed, blending fact and fiction into the most believable tales of battles, friendships, life, death, drinking, fighting, love and laughter - I could go on - around Rome and Julia's Caesar's campaigns across Europe

I started reading MM1 late last year after visiting Rome, Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius. I then read MM2, 3 and 4 in quick succession, and, as this one wasn't out, I then went back and read the first 4 all over again because I enjoyed them so much - and that does NOT happen very often!! We were even inspired to visit Brittany (Armorica) this year and the sites of some of Caesar and Crassus' battles! So all I can say is if you have an interest in this genre of book, or perhaps just wondered what it would be like to live in these times, then I am sure these books will not disappoint.

Anyway, all that is left to say is thank you Mr Turney for another enjoyable read and, how could I forget, for letting one of the ladies pitch into a fight this time too!
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on 19 June 2013
Volume 5 of this series is another excellent read.
This addition is a little different to the earlier volumes, as much of the action takes place in Italy where Fronto is spending his time having fallen out with Caeser in the previous volume. Here he has more than his fair share of troubles, and finds dealing with them difficult, as he is out of his depth in the very political world of Rome and it's environs.
The situation in Gaul is still followed through the book, hopefully giving us the prelude to parts 6 and 7?
All in all, this series is a great read, and this volume keeps thence and interest going.
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on 29 November 2015
I really love this series from S.J.A Turney, they are written in such a flowing manner similar to a Brandon Sanderson novel. Its obvious the author has spent a lot of time devoted to roman history as all of the stories are historically accurate in the broad sense. The novels are framed around the roman conquest of gaul from a senior officers view, with all of the views of caesar given from a completely different view to that usually portrayed from accounts of Brutus life.
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on 27 June 2013
I as I have said previously initially bought Marius Mules just to have something to read on my Kindle and because it was on offer. I wasn't expecting much but how wrong I was and I have since waited expectantly for every forthcoming edition. Marius Mules V does not disappoint. Straight into the action and all the action, vengeance, paranoia and back stabbing that we've come to expect from the higher echelons of Roman society. Well written characters that have developed as the series progressed as well as a clutch of new one both good and bad. All this and a rebellion too. What more could you ask for in a book. If your a fan of Roman fiction this is a series you should definitely read and even if your not not and just like a good story give it a go though I would say start from book 1 to get the full benefit.
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on 16 July 2013
This guy can write a great story. I have been hooked on Fronto since the invasion of Gaul, its funny, sad and gripping all at the same time. It's written in a way that feels it's happening today and not 32AD. I can't wait for the rest of this collection to be published. i have read other books such as Simon Scarrow etc but this guy is top of the league. I guarantee you will love them, but make sure you start with book 1 as the story intensifies as the campaign goes through Gaul and then Britain, Plots, war, romance, intrigue it's got them all. Highly recommend this writer
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on 22 June 2013
Whilst this book splits Fronto from the battles in Gaul and Britain, it by no means fails to deliver action on all levels. The stories, whilst seemingly separate, do converge at the end of the book with the promise of a Caesar/Fronto reunion. The stories in Hades Gate bring many of our favourite characters to the fore and the battles and plots are superbly crafted. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am already looking forward to the next.
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on 14 August 2013
After book four of 'Marius's Mules' I thought that that may be the end of the series so was surprised to find a book five for sale. It is a good read and opens up the story with detail of politics in Rome at that time and also Fronto's home life. While all this is going on the situation in Gaul goes from bad to worse leaving the prospect of a great book six. I can hardly wait.
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on 20 May 2013
Once again I found myself enthralled by a book by S.J.A. Turney. That shouldn't be so easy as this series takes place in one of my favorite periods of ancient history and involves some of the more colorful/powerful men in Rome's history and as such I expect a lot from writers who tackle those subject matters. I have yet to be disappointed by Mr. Turney's efforts. At the end of MM IV the main character in the series, Marcus Falerius Fronto had a seemingly irreparable falling out with Caesar which means he will be spending this campaigning season in Rome and Puteoli instead of Britain and Gaul. Trouble and more finds him anyway in many guises, from the maddened Pompey to a revenge seeking German, no place is safe for Fronto or his family and friends.

Meanwhile, Caesar has his own difficulties in Britain and then with the threat of a somewhat united Gaul rising up against him. With his officer corps somewhat depleted, Caesar finds it necessary to bring in experienced men from other legions. Thus the author introduces, who because of the HBO series, Rome, are probably known to most of us already; Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus have important roles to play as senior centurions in the 14th Legion. There are differences between the Rome versions and the two crafted by the author one of them being the fact that they are both centurions and Pullo is the more senior of the two. I think that it is interesting to note that Pullo and Vorenus , I believe, are the only two legionaries mentioned by name in Caesar's War Commentaries so it is only fitting that they play their part in Marius Mules, although I do conjure up the faces of Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson when reading their parts in the book.

The dual plots are handled in such a way that it seems each scene ends in a cliff hanging scenario which only spurs the reader to keep going in spite of the lateness of the hour. With each volume in this series the main characters keep progressing in their development, those that survive anyway as the author has a knack for surprises when it comes to not only the intrigue of the story lines but with who gets rubbed out. Not that that is a bad thing, war and other nefarious characters are always ready to claim a victim or two, though I have found myself shouting at the ceiling, 'oh my God, he killed so and so.'

Like a devious-devising Kronos, S.J.A. Turney weaves a tale of intrigue and action in Marius Mules V - Hades Gate. Like the previous volumes in this series Hades Gate is historical fiction at it's best. Great time of history, wonderful characters and the raw power of a Roman Legion shield wall have me looking longingly forward to Marius Mules VI...they just keep getting better.
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