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The Siege: Agent of Rome 1 Hardcover – 21 Jul 2011
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Agent of Rome is a masterful debut from a new author completely at home in this era; the writing is deft, the action swift and bloody and the characters believable and engaging. I look forward greatly to the next one. (Manda Scott)
Once the action kicks off you won't be able to put it down. (Anthony Riches, author of the Empire series)
'Brown's intelligent and exhilarating story excels in its perfect pace, vivid combat sequences and superb characterisation. The Siege delivers a thrilling coming-of-age adventure with an unlikely but likeable hero whose exploits are set to win an army of fans' (Lancashire Evening Post)
'Brown promises to be one of the most exciting sword-wielding writers in an ever-popular arena. In this, his debut, his principal is a 19-year-old fresh-faced officer commanding 100 men in defence of a Syrian stronghold against a vastly superior force. There are echoes of Beau Geste in this death-or-glory stand.' (The Oxford Times)
'The Siege is an excellent debut novel and delivers a thrilling and fascinating coming-of-age adventure' (Book Gazette)
One Hundred Men Stand Between Empire and Annihilation.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
First off.. just look at the artwork on the cover. Without even reading the outline of the story I was already interested in getting to grips with this one.
The book follows Cassius Corbulo. He’s a member of the imperial security service and thinks he will most likely spend his days sitting behind a desk not really getting his hands dirty.. How wrong he is.
Corbulo is the most senior officer out in the Syrian Desert with the rank equivalent to Centurion. His orders are to head to Alauran a strategic position due to the water and food supplies held within.
Immediately he faces trouble. Not only is he fresh from training and a very young man but he’s part of the ISS.. How on earth will he get these men to follow his orders… simple he doesn’t tell them :)
These men are a disorganised bunch since their last Centurion died some time ago and letting them know he actually isn’t a Centurion would just make things worse.
Quickly we are introduced to some characters you know will play a big part in the story. I never like to spoil a story so I’ll leave it for you to read but Corbulo has his work cut out for him getting this bunch of soldiers ready and able.
Corbulo knows relief is on its way but he knows the Palmyrans could turn up at any moment and he needs to get the men prepared.
Now the book focuses a lot on the relationships between the men under Corbulo, it really is the meat of the book for me and it was great. You see the men grow to appreciate the order brought by having Corbulo in charge while still seeing the men as individuals rather than mindless drones. While getting to grips with the men we also hear about the Praetorian Guardsman who doesn’t seem like he’ll be helping with the defence of Alauran anytime soon. If only they could sober him up! Corbulo needs every man to fight!
From here the action switches from Corbulo’s point of the view to the Palmyrans. This broke up the book nicely for me but kept me reading as I needed to find out what happened next..
The Palmyrans are now advancing on Alauran. We see them lead attack after attack against our heros. Both sides suffer loss.. I myself was left with my month left open wide with some of the losses.
There is a lengthy build up to the final battle and for me the ending didn’t disappoint. I had high hopes for the ending and It didn’t play out exactly as I thought but the characters involved were there and that was exactly what I wanted to see.
I wouldn’t change a single thing with this book in all honesty; it was a cracking read and has left me wanting more. As it happens my birthday is this month so I’ve hinted to the family I want at least the next two books in the series :)
Nick has just released book 5 in the series so I have some catching up to do but I’m looking forward to it.
So, is there room for anymore? Is there any area left to be explored?
On the evidence of Mr Browns debut then the answer is an unequivocal yes
The first part of the novel is spent meeting the main characters and building up to the titular siege, I though this part was particularly well done. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Cassius Corbulo (the series main protagonist) and the rest of the cast, they were all interesting and well written. Mr Brown has also fleshed out some of the beseigers (the bad guys if you like), this really added to the story and meant it didnt feel like our hero was simply slaughtering hordes of identikit nameless enemies.
The siege itself is exciting and very well done. The descriptive writing made it leap from the page and the pages turned over at a cracking pace.
I dont agree with the negative comments regarding the book being slow or the build up being boring and a waste, the build up is critical to the book. Its all about character development, surely we need to know about and sympathise with the characters in order to fully appreciate and understand their actions later on?
Ive thought long and hard about negatives, a review should highlight positives and negatives when all is said and done but I've struggled. I cant think of anything major - maybe the drunken soldier storyline is very slightly unbelievable and maybe a touch cartoonish (Obelisk came to mind) but thats a very, very minor criticism (and I liked Asterix and Obelisk when I was a kid anyway) and one its taken me a good while to come up with.
I loved it. A very highly recommended 4.5 stars.
Anyway, on with the rest of the series so I'm off to Getafix (see what I did there?)