26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Blood and Guts,
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This review is from: Marching With Caesar-Conquest of Gaul: Conquest of Gaul (Kindle Edition)
I am an avid reader of Roman fiction and have read Scarrow and Sidebottom among others so bring a certain critical frame to this novel set in the period when Caesar embarks on his career into Gaul. It is a long work and very detailed in its descriptions of the day to day life as viewed through the eyes of its main protagonist Titus Pullus. As he embarks on a life as a legionary he takes the reader deep into the routines and training and battles of the legion. At first I was daunted by the length but I have to say that I was gripped from the first page onwards. Peake is able to infuse a lot of detail into character interaction and drama and so the action and description never feels like a lecture or out of place. This is a tricky act to pull off and Peake does it superbly. Vary rarely was I aware of lengthy descriptions or details except to read of them in the context of the ongoing action and drama. As a result, I thoroughly recommend this work to anyone interested in the this period of the Roman history. There is a gritty realism to it which makes it stand apart from the works of Scarrow and Sidebottom, for example, as the latter have always struck me as being a little too anachronistic in their characters and events - more as if a nostalgic British Empire is re-dressed in togas and sandals! Much as I do like their work, Peake here has crafted a solid and bloody novel which really plunges you into the day to day life of a legionary on the march - and as Pullus rises up through the ranks and the grades in the exercitus of Rome, so too do you.