The Wolves of the North (Warrior of Rome) MP3 CD – 15 May 2013
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Blazes with searing scholarship (The Times ) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Dr Harry Sidebottom is a Fellow of St Benet's Hall and lecturer at Lincoln College, Oxford - where he specializes in ancient warfare and classical art. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Apart from Harry Sidebottom's usual research, description of characters and writing style - all excellent - this book has quite a few other things going for it. The other strong point, of course, is that, as in his four previous books, and as another reviewer has mentioned already, the author makes you learn a lot in a rather entertaining way. However, none of these points are specific to this book. There are generic and can apply just as well to any of his four previous books.
The same reviewer thought it useful to warn readers against potential criticism that this book might seem slow paced at time. It does seem slow, at one point, but, far from being a criticism, this is perfectly suitable and it even seems to be deliberate since it conveys very well the impression of an endless trek as the embassy crosses the steppe and seeks to reach the Heruls' camp.
Another point is Sidebottom's choice of the Heruls, of which we know very little, and what we know mainly comes from Procopius writing almost 300 years after the time when the book's story is supposed to take place. This, of course, allows the author more room for invention.Read more ›
As with all of Harry's books I expect that some will call the book slow, over detailed etc. But that's just not the case.
Harry's books and this one in particular are wonderfully written, he has an eloquent way of weaving the descriptive with the action. Like the history teacher everyone wants, you learn while you are entertained.
There are I'm sure a couple of readers out there who will once again claim to know more than the author about history but because there are always times that a fictional author must bend the facts and timeframe to fit the plot and its pace they need to get over that. Any changes are well explained as usual and all done with the very best of intentions to keep the latest story on plot and pace.
As usual our hero Ballista isn't just a 2D character, I always found him to be well rounded and by book five he is a living breathing hero, the good the bad, the imperfect, the stress and strain of position and command, all witten to give you fully rounded REAL person, with a supporting cast just as well written. I personally found even more realism with book five because of the chaotic swirl of the barbarian world clashing with the civilised order that was Rome.
Add a large dose of intrigue that usually accompanies the corrupt world of Rome and all its dealings, both from a family level through to movers and shakers in power. Ballista a Roman by accident / circumstance and deep down a barbarian at heart. This really does make for the most complex and intricate story so far and the best.Read more ›
We find ourselves this time in the company of a psycho killer who has somehow inserted himself in the familia Ballista. Who is this seeming goodguy sneeking out into the night to play seven little indians (or should that now be native americans?)with the cast list? Not telling!
As if this wasn't enough to worry about, the out of favour Ballista has to come to terms with a curse put on him last time out, being sent to politik a bunch of Steppes nomads who were driven into the wilderness by his Grandad, and then getting sucked into a war that really shouldn't be any of his business.
Well there is enough story to think about. Was it any good? Yes it was. I felt it did, like last time out, shamble along a bit before it got going and became a story, and the distracting Mastabates was back, but Harry rarely disappoints and he does action as well most and character illustration better than many. So once we got out onto the steppe it was pretty gripping stuff as a tribe rather amusingly called the Alan's try and kill our old Hell's Angle Ballista.
The ending was not what I was expecting but frustratingly I can't talk about it without some fairly heavy weight spoiling. So I won't. If you haven't read Sidebottem's previous books you will struggle with much of the sub plots in this, if you have read them, you know they are at times laugh out loud funny(I will never put lol in a review of mine!) but tragic and moving in places too.
Good stuff Harry, we're nicely set up for the next episode.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good series. Bit disappointed with the end. It leaves you wondering what happened next. I have been hoping for a follow up.Published 6 months ago by Harry
The best of the series so far with a great sense of quest, of strange cultures and geography. Battle scenes are vivid and gripping. Read morePublished 6 months ago by John Coffey
was not book i was looking for but still reading it at moment good storyline adds to previous episodes read of this character enjoyablePublished 6 months ago by Jim McGreechin