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Sacramentum by [Berkeley, D J G]
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Sacramentum Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 817 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083LLSGI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #316,429 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I quite enjoyed reading this book, trying to figure out what the various Latin terms used referred to in the modern world, such as the Latin for the internet?? An interesting concept: what today's world would look like if the Roman empire hadn't fallen but kept on expanding through the centuries. As other reviewers have already mentioned, I would have liked to read a bit more about what a modern society under Roman rule would look like, but I understand the need to have a plot and a story to follow, which actually makes for quite a good read. For me, the most interesting part of this was the gradual awareness from the main characters that slaves actually are human beings just like themselves, and that they are slaves purely based on historical reasons (i.e. who won and who lost the war). The whole concept of having slaves in a modern western civilisation is very surprising, but actually, taken from a Roman point of view, quite natural.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An alternative history novel based on the premiss that the domination of Rome continued unchecked. This is the story of a bunch of Roman mercenaries who end up working for a mafia style corrupt Roman official in the north of England in a border town near the Roman wall. They uncover corruption battle against the bad guys and try to change the Roman slave culture too. A rattling good yarn.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved the idea of setting the action in a world still ruled by ancient Rome. Having a classics degree this really appealed to me. The adventure was non stop, a really exhilarating roller coaster ride. Just when you think it's going to be ok, danger strikes again. The torture scenes were horribly realistic but not unnecessarily so. My only complaint was some of the grammar and punctuation didn't appeal to my old fashioned educated mind but it didn't really detract from an absorbing read. I would thoroughly recommend this as an intelligent thought provoking adventure story.
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Format: Paperback
A Roman candle is a type of firework that ejects one or more stars or exploding shells. This is how I found this interesting book.

The "sacramentum militare", was the oath by Roman soldiers in promising their loyalty, to the consul in the Republican period or later to the emperor. I think this idealism surrounds Titus, in his battle for honour and survival. The striking book cover captures this idea with the Roman dog tags, discarded in the mud. In Ecclesiastical Latin "sacramentum", has the idea of a mystery or secret and that would fit the conspiracy, Titus uncovers, involving Strabo. Titus tries to keep his sense of honour in a situation of competing loyalties, between Ceinwyn and his fellow mercenaries and his own keenly felt military ideals. This is what the book is about, loyalty to personal relationships in conflict with ideals about Rome, soldiering etc. Does Rome as an ideal have a future? What indeed, is the Roman ideal? Can corruption by its officials be rooted out? This is the concern of the author in book one.

The idea of a Rome, set in Cumbria where the author lives, that never falls, is a stimulating one. Similar approaches have been used with notions like: what would have happened if Britain had lost the Second World War and been taken over by the Nazis state. Setting his story within a Roman era that still continues and has developed from ancient times adds another dimension and challenge, which Berkeley has coped very well with in the book. His research of Roman times comes across and is convincing in its development of what Rome would look like in modern times had it not fell. The Epilogue is very helpful in setting the scene and stimulating further interest in Roman times, especially in Britain.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really very enjoyable.

What if Rome hadn't fallen, and had instead continued to the approximate modern day? What direction would the social order and the technological development taken? Berkeley explores these questions and takes you on an entertaining ride with characters that you care for. For the most part each character has a unique voice, some you like, some you don't. Fairly straightforward plot line.

All in all a very good first novel. I'm looking forward to reading the next.
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CONTAINS SPOILERS. I enjoyed this book but I am giving it three stars as there are a number of faults with it that I think stop it short of being a really good adventure story. Firstly, I thought it was a little overlong and that the action could have been condensed a little - there were rather a lot of similar scenes for example, breaking into Strabo's compound, car chases across open country, etc. Some of the emotional development of the characters seemed a bit forced, for example when the mercenaries suddenly realise that the Romans have been ill treating slaves for millenia and when Marcus falls immediately in love with Ceidwyn. There were a few Hollywood cliches, eg Strabo's top secret compound is easy to break into and can be navigated by ventilation ducts just big enough to fit a person; Strabo confronts Titus at the end with the old Bond villain cliche of something like 'We're not so different, you and I...' (as well as Strabo being left in an escapable situation at the end instead of being killed outright - presumably he will be back in the sequel!) and there were a few annoying typoes and Americanisms in the text ('snuck', 'figured out' etc).

I also thought that there wasn't enough explanation (at least until the postscript) about how Rome had developed when the 'split' in history occurred (when Julius Caesar was prevented from taking control of Rome). It often seemed that the author just took ancient Rome and tacked on some modern inventions (like cars, aeroplanes, rifles and the internet) in a sort of 'Roman Steampunk' without any description of what happened in the intervening 1500 years. How did Christianity survive, for example, without the conversion of Rome? Why do the slaves often have an intolerance to alcohol?
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