7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Good But Lacks Focus,
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This review is from: The Forgotten Legion: (The Forgotten Legion Chronicles No. 1) (Paperback)
The Forgotten Legion is a pretty good addition to the 'Ancient Roman Adventure' genre. Its not up there with Simon Scarrow's Eagle series or the first three of Conn Iggulden's 'Emperor' novels but its not far behind.
Covering some similar ground to Manfredi's 'Empire of Dragons' (but a thousand times better than that woeful book) and mixing in elements of Gladiator, Spartacus and any of the thousands of novels about Roman politics in the time of Julius Caesar, The Forgotten Legion is somnething of a greatest hits collection of bits from other novels and movies. That doesn't mean its not enjoyable; it is resolutely a tale of adventure rather than high politics (although these do features) or precise historical accuracy. It does feel however, somewhat derivative at times.
Fortunately a set of attractive lead characters, decent pace, historical details that are used sparingly, a smattering of sex and lots of action distract from the less original aspects of the story. On the whole The Forgotten Legion is an enjoyable historical romp.
What it could do with but lacks is a real sense of focus. This is a tale that rambles both narratively and geographically. Covering a fair amount of time, often leaping ahead months or even years, it feels very much like the first part of a larger story. There is no real structure, with the book lacking identifiable 'Acts'. It is also missing a proper denoument. What would be the big finish of any other book comes two thirds of the way through, and the actual finish is rather a damp squib. This lack of focus means that book often meanders and doesn't always hold the attention as well as it should. Certainly after the 'big battle' I found my interest in events fading somewhat.
With tighter plotting and piossibly the last hundred pages carried over to the next volume The Forgotten Legion would be a far better book. As it stands its for the most part an entertaining romp and a promising debut. I'll pick up the next volume The Silver Eagle when it comes out in paperback. I just hope that has tighter plotting.