Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent follow up, 24 April 2012
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This review is from: Arrows of Fury: II (Empire) (Paperback)
I've waited until I finished the third book in this series before posting a review of any of them, and for a particular reason. Most of the historical series I've read consist of a new separate story with each book, often defined by a narrator's pause or some such device. Most series are different stories with different themes that build a series.

Wile clearly part of a series, Tony's first three Empire books are different. To me they follow on so closely and seamlessly that the series so far could easily be seen as one huge story spread over three books with appropriate pauses between releases. The stories are readable independently, for sure, but the best will be got from them by reading them one after the other. Quite simply, you can't read one book of this series without wanting to go on with the story. In order to get the best from the story, you need to read them all, and for the best possible results, I would suggest back-to-back.

A second thing that I would say that concerns each of Tony's works is what I consider his greatest strength as an author: The gritty military reality of his tale-telling. I have spent some time in my life, in a civilian situation but alongside men of military units, and there is something so authentic about Tony's characterisation that it felt truly familiar and real. You will find it hard to disbelieve anything about Tony's depiction of the legions, auxiliary troopers, the cavalry, their structure, style, attitude and actions. While no one can confirm exactly how soldiers then spoke and acted, it's hard to believe they were any different from the modern military and Tony has made these ancient soldiers understandable and relevant to the modern reader.

I feel that it is better for me to review the series as a whole, which I have given an appropriate 5 stars of 5, and then add a short section on the individual novel. I find it almost impossible to put down Tony's books and eagerly await the Leopard Sword to see what new direction the series might take.

Book Two

Arrows of fury follows up perfectly from Wounds of honour, and takes the action to a new level, concentrating more this time on the war that was the impetus and background of the first book, the Tribal leader who has become the great antagonist of the Empire series and the campaigns of great leaders (and occasionally of chinless idiots.)

Alongside this great military campaign, we experience the machinations of wicked and stupid men and best of all heroics from the most unexpected quarters. The Hamian unit that are the reason for the book's name simply blew me away and made me reassess the importance of missile troops in the Roman military. I have come to love Qadir as a character. Arrows of fury doesn't just follow on from Wounds of Honour, but builds on it, introducing wonderful new characters and elements.
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