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on 28 March 2013
I was wary of beginning Nick Brown's 'Agent of Rome: The Siege' and put it off for a long time. Having read the blurb, it looked to me to be ridiculously close in plot to Harry Sidebottom's first Warrior of Rome, in that both involve a Roman site under siege from an eastern power at almost the same point in history. The locations are close, both in Syria. The times are roughly a decade apart.

I needn't have worried. There are similarities, yes, but... well let me put it this way: I could give two artists the brief to paint a picture of a tree on a hill in September, and one might look like a Monet while the other might be a Braque. So that's that dealt with. The two stories are dissimilar enough to make comparisons pointless.

Brown has taken on an interesting premise for the main character, selecting a member of the Imperial Secret Service; one of the (in)famous Frumentarii or grain officers. What he has done is to tackle the service in the style of a sensible, sensitive young nobleman with only the best intent at heart. This is not the sly, devious, murderous, dangerous view of that organisation we are used to. There is very little reference in detail to the service in this book as, despite being an officer of it, Corbulo is thrown into a situation where he is more active as a military officer.

As usual, I won't push the plot other than to say that it involves a tiny Roman garrison at the far eastern edge of Syria, full of misfits and laxity, which faces a siege by the forces of the newly expansionist Palmyrene empire. More need not be said and indeed should not, lest the plot be ruined.

What I can say is that Brown has created a believable and fascinating view of frontier life in third century eastern Rome, full of well-painted and interesting characters, each driven by realistic needs and desires, thrown together into a horrendous situation.

In short and as an incentive to go read it - The Siege was reminiscent of that most excellent of all siege movies: Zulu, and I can think of no higher praise than that.
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on 29 May 2018
A novel based around facts, but blessed by the freedom offered in writing fiction. The characters are all introduced and developed in such a way that not only do they seem teal., but they add to the entrapment of the reader and thereby make readings this almost an addiction.
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on 15 June 2018
An interesting story full of incidents. The relief force of roman cavalry was never going to arrive before the battle. Many good men gave their lives for fellow legionnaires. Looking forward to the next installment.
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on 19 September 2014
For a new writer his book grips you very quickly and you see his young character develop and grow amidst the murky roman political goings on and Rome's fight for survival whilst trying to stay true to his upbringing as a Roman Citizen especially with the rise of a new religion which goes against all that he has been brought up to believe in yet is more of a reflection of his own beliefs than the honour of Rome is.
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on 27 July 2015
I enjoy historical fiction especially from the Roman Empire era. This book is up there with others of the same genre and a highly enjoyable read.
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on 24 September 2013
I have read a lot of books of this genre (over 70) I have to say this is as engrossing as any ive read, it is certainly up there with the likes of scarrow and Igguldon, I can't wait to get stuck into the next one in the series
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on 29 May 2014
A new writer to me and a very new and inexperienced hero! A fan of Simon Scarrow and Antony Riches, I was delighted to discover this new series. A bit loose at present, I have high hopes for the Imperial Security Service officer.
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on 26 October 2016
Very good
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on 30 May 2016
good book, good service. no complaints
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on 23 August 2014
Really enjoyable reading good attention to historical detail and believable characters excellent
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