4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Decent Debut,
This review is from: Wounds of Honour: Empire I (Empire series) (Hardcover)
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Wounds of Honour is the first book in a trilogy following the story of Marcus Aquila, a young lad who has been sent from Rome to the farthest reaches of the Empire by his father to avoid the grisly fate awaiting the remainder of his family for falling out with Emperor Commodus. Here, Aquila finds help in seeking cover, but only in taking over a century that is the laughing stock of the cohort. Can our young officer win the respect of the century and his fellow centurions, and can he remain undiscovered despite the Emperor's stooge Perennis who is intent on finding and bringing Aquila's family to book? More importantly, can he even survive his Legion's encounter with the barbarian hordes?
The book is exciting enough and a reasonably engaging read which overall I enjoyed (although there were a couple of points where I lost interest in one of the particularly interminable battles). That said, it is a bit Andy McNabb in Roman times. There's a focus on fighting, coarse language and camaradery. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but for me at least it got in the way of any sense of historical feel. Is this really the way that Romans spoke to one another? As I say, a bit of this isn't a bad thing, but it seemed a little overplayed to the detriment of the book.
So, my reason for the three stars is that, despite finding the book fairly enjoyable, it simply failed to capture a sense of the period in which it's set. There are so many good books set in Roman times - if you feel you've already read them, fine, give this a try. If not, have a look at Scarrow, Iggulden, Sutcliff et al first.