5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Opening a window to the Eastern Roman Empire,
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This review is from: Legionary (Legionary 1) (Kindle Edition)
This novel is set in the Eastern Roman Empire at a time of grave crisis. It is a marvellous evocation of an empire which has been sadly neglected in the west. I felt transported to the embattled empire, seeing the sights, smelling the stench and hearing the clamour as if I were really there.
The novel drives forward at great pace. It takes the young hero from the fetid and threatening streets of Constantinople to the marches of empire and beyond. The writing is intense and vividly portrays the harshness and terror of life in a frontier army.
The main characters are interesting and realistic although the one question I have concerns the motives of young Pavo's arch-enemy. I was left wondering why he had acted in the way he did, the only slight judder in an otherwise very well plotted novel. Maybe this will become clearer in subsequent novels.
I loved the politics in this book, both small scale amongst the soldiers in the camp, and large scale in the machinations of the imperial court and upper reaches of the church. There is much good and evil here and not always where you look to find it.
There were many memorable characters and I felt real sorrow when some of them met grisly ends. The battle scenes were realistic and bloody without any gratuitous violence. If you harbour any doubts about how terrible war could be when only blades and spears were used this novel will give you a terrible answer.
A marvellous debut and I look forward to reading more of this author's work.