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on 24 April 2012
I've waited until I finished the third book in this series before posting a review of any of them, and for a particular reason. Most of the historical series I've read consist of a new separate story with each book, often defined by a narrator's pause or some such device. Most series are different stories with different themes that build a series.

Wile clearly part of a series, Tony's first three Empire books are different. To me they follow on so closely and seamlessly that the series so far could easily be seen as one huge story spread over three books with appropriate pauses between releases. The stories are readable independently, for sure, but the best will be got from them by reading them one after the other. Quite simply, you can't read one book of this series without wanting to go on with the story. In order to get the best from the story, you need to read them all, and for the best possible results, I would suggest back-to-back.

A second thing that I would say that concerns each of Tony's works is what I consider his greatest strength as an author: The gritty military reality of his tale-telling. I have spent some time in my life, in a civilian situation but alongside men of military units, and there is something so authentic about Tony's characterisation that it felt truly familiar and real. You will find it hard to disbelieve anything about Tony's depiction of the legions, auxiliary troopers, the cavalry, their structure, style, attitude and actions. While no one can confirm exactly how soldiers then spoke and acted, it's hard to believe they were any different from the modern military and Tony has made these ancient soldiers understandable and relevant to the modern reader.

I feel that it is better for me to review the series as a whole, which I have given an appropriate 5 stars of 5, and then add a short section on the individual novel. I find it almost impossible to put down Tony's books and eagerly await the Leopard Sword to see what new direction the series might take.

Book One

Wounds of honour is a wonderful beginning, introducing a number of characters that you will love and that will go through the series with you.

From the protagonist, a fugitive from Imperial justice who will continue to take your breath away in exciting and violent ways as each new talent of his becomes apparent, to the grim centurions who have served long on the frontier, to the oily son of a Roman aristocrat seeking the hero's downfall, the story takes place against a background of violent war and tribal pride, beleaguered forts and inter-unit rivalries, and centres around a 'training of mistfits' theme that is both exciting and humourous at times. The book has a solid and exciting concusion while clearly not finishing the whole story. Wounds of Honour introduces the reader to life on Hadrian's Wall in an era of troubles, to the auxiliary units that serve there and, in particular, to the First Tungrian cohort, who will become central to the series.
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on 1 December 2016
Enjoyed this book immensely, looks like I have a lot of reading to do to catch up with the rest of the series. Looking forward to opening book 2.
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on 6 March 2017
A great start to a new series with great plotting and characters. I look forward to reading the rest of this new exciting series.
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on 1 May 2017
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on 2 June 2017
Good story line - I will keep reading the series.
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on 6 November 2009
This book fits neatly into the Roman fictional history genre and has a well researched structure similar to Harry Sidebottom's books, whilst containing plenty of action reminiscent of Simon Scarrow.

The author has quite cleverly created a unique and subtle writing style where the reader learns more about Roman military life and social customs, but in a way which does not detract the reader's attention from the story and most importantly the action!

With the ever increasing number of books which saturate this genre, you may well ask yourself whether you should bother with this one and begin a new series. Well in my opinion if you love Roman history, particularly Roman Britain, then this is a book for you. This is a superb first book which lays good foundations for a potentially excellent series.

Strong characters with intriguing personalities and mysterious histories combined with a breath of treason are aspects which feature strongly in this first book. A number of loose ends have been left at the end of the book and I expect that these will form the bedrock of the second novel.

An enjoyable, informative novel which I highly recommend to those who love the genre.
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on 14 March 2014
Having come across 'The Wolf's Gold' (Which is volume 5 in the series) in a second hand book shop, I was hooked and began again with volume 1 of this fascinating series ie 'Empire' by Anthony Riches. Brilliant!
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on 3 February 2014
But good fun all the same. There is nothing original here in any cohort, but if enjoy this genre of fiction, you'll ejoy this as well.
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on 2 November 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Roman Army is a well covered area of historic fiction with the likes of Conn Iggulden and Simon Scarrow having great success in recent years. Far from putting people off a crowded market the success of these authors draws more in. Therefore, Anthony Riches embarks on a new trilogy set around Hadrian's Wall when the Romans had to fight off the tribes to the North. There are many aspects of "Empire - Wounds of Honour' that work. Marcus Aquila is a good creation and he grows as a person as the book develops, he will sustain readers for three books easily. The environment is also painted vividly as I felt I had a sense of life for troops in the cold and wet North. The highlight of the book is the final section that sees some great set pieces very well written.

As a fan of the genre `Wounds' had everything I need to keep me entertained; action, story and character. The book did feel like a deliberate first book in a series as it is open ended and not as much happens as could have. I also felt that although authentic there was a lot of homophobic ranting by the various warrior types. This would not normally bother me if it was in keeping with the times, but it cropped up enough to be too noticeable. Despite these misgivings they are small factors in what is overall a very good book that entertained me and promises to be a fun trilogy that I will be sure to read.
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on 24 November 2009
The content has been well covered in other reviews. I would just like to back this as a terrific read that would appeal to anyone who has enjoyed the likes of Patrick O'Brian, Bernard Cornwell, Julian Stockwin (Kydd series), or Robert Harris. It would be good if the author could polish his style slightly as it is occasionally a bit confusing about who is talking to whom, and what is actually going on - slightly tighter editing would help. However where it just shines out is in its ability to envelope the reader in an absolutely gripping tale of 2nd Century Britain and the military and political intrigues surrounding a young Centurion. I thoroughly enjoyed it and feel slightly mean for taking 1 star off for the occasionally confusing writing. Nevertheless it's a cracking read, and while the language is a little strong at times for Aunty Mabel, it's never superfluous or inappropriate. I can't wait for the next volume, and have high hopes of reading a lot more from this author.
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