Top positive review
One person found this helpful
Interesting and original
on 25 September 2011
The topic itself - the beginnings of the Jewish revolt - is somewhat original and interesting. The way the author lays it out is even more so, with Saulos (our St Paul, but here portrayed as the arch-villain, something of an Ancient times anarchist!) stirring up trouble in a rather compulsive way. Manda Scott's research is excellent, whatever you might think about her interpretations about early Christians, with Jesus equated to Judas and portrayed as the chief of a terrorist sect. One point that does come across clearly is that, in the eyes of many Roman officials at least, the Jewish factions were troublemakers breaking the Roman peace or even what we might call "terrorists" today. This was also the point of view of Herod and his successors who were also seen as usurpers (they weren't even of Jewish descent) and collaborators by their suibjects, having accepted Roman rule (although there is probably little they could have to oppose it openly).
The characters are, as usual, interesting and well presented. I do have three (somewhat minor) issues, however.
One is about Pantera siding with Menachem and attacking the fortress of Massada, garrisoned by an eline cohort of Roman legionaries, so that the Jews can get their hands on arms and armour. A Roman, secret agent of the Emperor, seems a bit unlikely to go that far. Is this even plausible?
The other is that they in fact manage to storm the fortress, against all odds, including numbers (about 100 lightly armed sicaires against a cohort of 500 heavily armed and elite legionaries). This does not seem very plausible either and a bit more explanations here might have been necessary as to whether something like this really happening. My last issue is the ease with which Ikshara changes sides. I won't say more because I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone.
Well worth reading and I'll certainly buy the next installment. Four stars for me, given my little issues.