17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A counter view,
This review is from: Legion (Paperback)
I only meant to give this book 2-3 stars, but somehow it is showing as 5 and there is no way to undo it, but please read on!
I would divide the book into two. First, there is the recreation of life in a Roman army settlement on the Rhine frontier. This is as good as people say it is, giving a really vivid impression of what it must have been like. It puts the battles into context by showing how much of a Roman soldier's time was spent on building up the infrastructure of the empire (building roads, etc.). So far so good.
The other half of the book is the story and I felt this was very lame. One of the other reviewers descibes it as unputdownable and I am pleased they enjoyed it. To me the story left no cliche unturned and was, at best, of the level of sophistication of the action comics I used to read when I was a boy. The film "Gladiator" was clever enough to make you suspend your disbelief; this book is not half as clever and by midway through I was skimming through to find the next piece that told me something about life in the Roman army. I really didn't care what happened to the characters.
Early PC games were said to be either written by people who could program but didn't know how to design a game, or people who could devise a game but had no idea how to program it. For me, this book was written by someone skilled at recreating history (which covers about one-fifth of the book) but with no particular skills as a novelist. Because the novel takes up four-fifths of the book it gets a low score from me.