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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 20 September 2014
This is another good volume in the series. I won't go into details of the plot, but it is another gripping adventure for Fronto and his friends and enemies! The author has a clear grasp of the characters involved, and they continue to develop as the series progresses.
My one gripe about this episode - and the reason for only four stars - is that, for me, there were too many new characters introduced in this story. This meant that you hardly had time to work out who was who, before they started dying - or becoming very important, and you therefore did not have enough invested in them to care. I know that this was part of the point, because Fronto had the same problem, but for me, it meant less engagement than normal.
However, still a good read, and I'm very much looking forward to the next instalment.
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on 14 January 2014
Those of you who have read the previous volumes in this series may not find it hard to believe but I will say it anyway...they just keep getting better. The author left himself a considerable task at the end of book 4...to refresh your memory it is there that the main fictional character, Marcus Falerius Fronto, has a major falling out with his friend and commanding general, Gaius Julius Caesar. A rift so vast that Fronto leaves the army and spends the whole of book 5 dealing with personal issues while Caesar continues his quest without one of his most trusted advisers and tacticians. Getting them back together did not seem possible but Simon is nothing if he isn't a resourceful writer.

Their reunion, put forward by none other than Marcus Antonious, is not an easy one and that is one reason why this book is such a great read. Nothing is easy...Simon could have had them patch up, shake hands and gone forward right from the beginning of the reunion but that would be too easy and a bit of a boring letdown. I will say no more lest I give away too much. The main plots are, for Caesar, the death of Ambiorix, the Eburone King who was responsible for the destruction of two legions and for Fronto, the return to the fold and command of a legion. Of course, those two aspects of the story are intertwined, converging like two tributaries to the Rhenus and becoming one in the end.

The continued development of the main characters is an ever constant need and has become a strength of the author. I especially enjoyed the progress of some of the main characters such as:
Caesar - much more human/not the above the fray-confident specimen he is often portrayed as...his conversations with Fronto especially are very telling and interesting
Labienus - another example of a differing representation - not a madman bent on outdoing Caesar
Antonius - now, he is larger than life...imagine Richard Burton meets James Purefoy
Fronto - he has been many things in this series and has grown with it...seeing him as commander of a Navy Seal like operation was well done...
On the fringe and just waiting to burst on the scene is that ever popular Gaulish rebel, Vercingetorix...his brief appearances here leaves one with the impression that he could be the most formidable foe yet to take on Caesar and Fronto.
I throw 5 stars at Simon Turney for yet again turning it up a notch. Now get to work on Alesia. :-)
About the author:
I live with my wife, my slightly barmy son and very vocal daughter, and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire, where my wife and I both grew up, surrounded by friends and family. A born and bred Yorkshireman with a love of country, I cannot envisage spending my life anywhere else, though my anchor is sometimes tested as the wanderlust hits and we travel wherever I can find the breathtaking remains of the classical world. I have a love of travel and history, architecture and writing and those four interact well enough to keep me almost permanently busy.

Since leaving school and University, I have tried a great number of careers, including car sales, insurance, software engineering, computer network management, civil service and even paint ing and decorating sales. I have lived in four counties and travelled as widely as time and budget allowed and find myself, on the cusp of my fortieth year, back where I began and finally doing something I love.

Having written a number of unpublished short stories in my early days, I decided back in 2003 to try and write a full length novel. That was the start of Marius' Mules. Being a lover of Roman history, I decided to combine my love of writing and my love of classical history. Marius' Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum, my attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome. Since then, the success and popularity of both have inflated my head so that I can no longer comfortably fit through doors, and has spawned sequels to each work, with a third in the fantasy series and the sixth Marius' Mules now complete, as well as a series set in the 15th century Mediterranean.

I maintain another website detailing the Roman sites I visit and photograph, and write a blog about books. Find me on twitter as @sjaturney. I am an almost terminally chatty person. That's just a due warning if you feel like contacting me (see above.) I am always happy to speak to people and have put together an FAQ gathered together from things I have been asked previously. [...] [...]
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on 29 April 2014
Yet again I was transported back to the legions with fronto. This book is slower to start than the other books but once it gets going the pace, plots and characters jump out from the page. Really enjoyed the fights as usual.
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on 15 January 2014
I received a copy of Simon James Atkinson Turney's excellent new Book MARIUS MULES VI prior to publication,

What a story, After vowing revenge on Ambiorix, It covers Caesar's campaign through the Ardenne forest decimating the Tribes that were involved in the slaughter of his 14th Legion the previous year,
Throw in an exciting manhunt and we are set for a cracking good read.(once again)

Simon Turney clearly knows his history and his research into the subject of the gritty Gallic Wars is simply faultless. He does a tremendous job at portraying this rich and complex time of Caesar's campaign's, also with the constant power games between the Triumvirate in Rome thrown in this makes an enthralling and compelling series.

I now look forward to the short work 'Marius' Mules: Prelude to War' which will follow on in the wake of MM6 and will cover three important events that occur during the following winter before 'Marius' Mules VII: picks up the tale in late 2014/early 2015.
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on 3 September 2014
The historical story continues with some twists and turns again the author has not been afraid to kill off some of the central characters which keeps the outcome of the story into their personal lives interesting. It is difficult to review a book in a series without spoiling it for another reader yet to enjoy this authors work. I highly recommend this and am now waiting for the author to catch up to my reading.
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on 16 September 2014
Certain books have that something that makes you, part of the story, where you can visualise the characters and their surroundings and totally immerse yourself in the experience, this book and the whole series has it all in spades, I just hope next book is not the end to a brilliant series, but I fear it may be.
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on 29 November 2015
I really love this series from S.J.A Turney, they are written in such a flowing manner similar to a Brandon Sanderson novel. Its obvious the author has spent a lot of time devoted to roman history as all of the stories are historically accurate in the broad sense. The novels are framed around the roman conquest of gaul from a senior officers view, with all of the views of caesar given from a completely different view to that usually portrayed from accounts of Brutus life.
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on 11 February 2014
A few books ago when Marius left Caesars service I thought the series had lost its way. Since then I have been proved wrong as each book goes from strength to strength. Gives a different point of view of Julius Caesar and all his peers without taking the good guy/bad guy get out. Battles, politics and even a little romance as we follow the cast through a crucial piece of western european history.
I have been annoyed at some series which seem to keep going after the story has been told but if the author can keep up this level of plot and characterisation then I would be happy to find Marius at Octavian's side, Who knows maybe it is him that deifies Octavian - but I doubt it knowing Marius !
Why the publishers didn't pick up on this one I don't know but, being purely selfish from a money point of view, I'm glad they didn't.
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on 13 February 2014
Once again the author surpasses himself. You r instantly, through the mind of Fronto, teleported to the fighting and lives of individuals in Gaul and Belgium. You feel for the group as there friends are killed during the important mission. You can feel the intense hatred for the people of the Region against the invaders.
Once again though you look forward to the next installment involving Caesar, Fronto and the Legions of Rome.
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on 13 February 2014
I have all of the previous Marius`Mules books on Kindle and this one carries on a marvellous series. I was slightly disappointed with Hades Gate but this one is right back on track. The style of Story telling is first class and easy to follow which makes it appealing even to those who might think Roman history to be boring. Long may S.J.A.Turneycontinue with this series.
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