A new Roman series for me, set at the twilight of the Empire in Britain, North Britain that is too, North of the wall in fact..We begin C 298AD in Armenia with the legions of the Danube frontier their allies about to face battle against the Persians under the leadership of Caesar Galerius and its straight into battle we go with little pre amble as we find ourselves following the story of our hero to be in the reserve cohorts of the II Herculia legion, its a baptism of fire for him..Jump forward 7 years we find our young hero now a decorated Centurion we re into the story proper delving into the landscape of a Northern frontier fort as well as the politics of the Empire as it s about to undergo a radical change in it s leadership Liking warfare political intrigue with my Roman stories I m than happy with the start We re into the crux of the story within the opening chapters, we re off to meet the barbarous Picts in the guise of an ambassadors escort, all 58 men of a reduced strength century adeptly trained by our hero after their years of slovenly ways in the outpost of the Empire known as Britannica It moves along well paced, characters around our hero are introduced along with the lifestyle historical detail of the period woven neatly into the storyline, both Roman Pict I won t go into further detail about the story but suffice to say the battle scenes are well mapped out structured as are the political conniving of all involved However view spoiler there are times when the Centurion has a touch of the James Bond about him, getting out of certain scrapes being fairly indestructible whilst all around him die if you can work past those moments it s all good but I can understand the occasional raised eye brow a la Roger Moore hide spoiler This is an impressive debut Set in a little known era of the Roman Empire the early 4th century AD it throws us headfirst into a chaotic world in which emperors rise and fall, fortunes change and a man does not know who to trust This is a thumping good read, well crafted, atmospheric and thoroughly enjoyable A real page turner Where s the next volume, please Las andanzas del centuri n Casto en el imperio romano de la decadencia, a o 298 DC, defendiendo las fronteras contra los pictos, all en la Escocia actual Es la poca del futuro emperador Constantino el Grande, que legalizar la religi n cristiana por el Edicto de Mil n en el a o 313 Aunque no es especialmente destacable, esta primera entrega de la serie tampoco est nada mal Su buena ambientaci n y un lenguaje fluido hace que se lea r pido y con inter s Hay bastantes pasajes de batallas y escaramuzas, generalmente muy conseguidas El protagonista, Aurelio Casto, es f cilmente identificable En definitiva, una novela m s de romanos, pero no descartable El autor va por la quinta entrega, aunque traducidas al espa ol creo que solo est la presente, no s si por falta de ventas Es muy posible que me decida a continuar con la serie Swords of the throne es la siguiente. Absolutely enthralling and packed with action Set in Roman Britain, during late reign of Emperor Constantius and subsequent acclamation of Constantine as Emperor by the troops, in the 4th century A.D., a time not treated much in fiction Aurelius Castus, a common soldier, who, in fighting Persians, because of his valor at his unthinking rush into the breach when his centurion is killed, is decorated After defeating barbarians in Pannonia he is promoted to that rank and sent to Roman Britain He becomes part of a diplomatic mission to the Picts and the mission goes terribly wrong He surrenders himself to the Picts in exchange for his men s lives his century has come with him as honor guard The envoy takes his own life, rather than suffer brutality Castus waits for the right opportunity then escapes, making his way back to his fort, pursued by the Picts and their dogs The town of Isurium and surrounding countryside is burned and the Roman inhabitants killed The home of the envoy is near Isurium The honorable Castus seeks it out and rescues the envoy s daughter, Marcellina, from the barbarians, taking her to Eboracum with him at her request Upon the order of the emperor, Constantius, he leads a punitive expedition north again, to destroy native villages, then the Pictish hillfort in which he had been imprisoned.I feel the author chose an excellent name for his unforgettable protagonist That name expresses his personality perfectly Castus Chaste in the secondary senses of decent, simple, uncomplicated The envoy s daughter, Marcellina, expresses it bestalways appearing the strong, obedient soldier, unthinking, like a dumb animal but you are a good man, CenturionShe sees something in him than what others see she senses something deeper kindness and a code of honor, maybe even the self deprecating personality and lack of self confidence in matters non military that I picked up on As centurion, he has learned to mask any feelings of fear in front of his men, following advice given by another centurion his previous superior in Persia I am sure, as this series progresses, he will blossom His mantras have always been Duty and Following Orders , but he shows great initiative in his evading recapture and in his actions at the hillfort If he can become assertive outside his military role The novel was well written and carried me back into that era I felt many emotions identification with Castus and his feelings, anger at the Picts, fear for him on his flight, sadness at the massacre of his century, especially as the Picts had let them go with the promise they would not harm the men I appreciated that no scenes with Marcellina turned sexual that Castus respected her, her station and the class gulf between them Outstanding were the pages on the harrowing escape from the Picts and their dogs and the climactic battle at the hillfort, including preparations I am eager to follow him on his further adventures.Increased rating on rereading in September 2016.Highly recommended. An excellent Roman military adventure set in late Roman Britain in York and north of the Wall Very hard to put down. What an interesting and entertaining tale this was Oh, and I love the title too.The latter days of the Roman Empire is interesting me and , I ve no idea why, but this really fed that interest, and then some Good solid characters though Castus really will have to work on getting a personality in the next book , some interesting dilemmas placed in their way and of course, what you re really looking for in this kind of story, plenty of well written, not to say tense, backs against the wall, how the heck are they going to get out of that, action scenes The whole flowing as a seamless whole.There are perhaps, one too many of the Hist Fic Touchstones The phrases and words that not only gain the author acceptance into the Hist Fic Author s club, but also establish them as a Real Historical Fiction Author Because, as all Hist Fic Authors know, the raised eyebrows, the battle calm, the blood hot on his hand, the wolfish grin, the dreams of dead comrades that he can remember every gory detail of his interaction with, in the dream, and that they are berating him for something he has or hasn t done wrong have to be in a real Hist Fic book Or it isn t one It does seem like, according to the books I read, that people in Ancient Times did dream a whole lot , and vividly, and with dire portents, than people do these days, me, for example In Ancient Times, you saw the whole of the family of the person you killed, not an hour or so previously I d like to read a Hist Fic book set in Ancient Times, where the main character has a dream where they are 30 years previous, in a Crit at Art School and they haven t done the work Just sayingwell, what I m saying it doesn t happen However, despite ignoring all that nonsense there was still than enough left to whet my appetite for the rest of the series.Blog Speesh ReadsFacebook Speesh ReadsPinterest Speesh Reads Something about this one just didnt work for me Probably reflected in the amount of time it took for me to complete it I love historical fiction, especially Ancient Rome This was a time period I hadnt seen explored before in this style of novel I loved the politics, I enjoyed the action and the history element, however the characters were a let down The protagonist was cliched and just a brute who didnt have much that I enjoyed about him I understand that at around that time most men would have been brutal and all warriors but it didnt go beyond much of that Due to this and obviously spending majority of the story with Castus, I wasnt eager to get back to finishing Solid ending and obviously many othet battles to tell, just not sure Castus has much growth for me. The Epic First Installment In A New Series Set At The End Of Empire In The Reign Of The Emperor Constantine, The War At The Edge Of The World Follows Newly Promoted Centurion Aurelius Castus Into The Tumultuous Battle For The Future Of RomeOnce A Soldier In An Elite Legion From The Danube, Now Stuck In Britain S Provincial Backwater, Castus Believes His Glory Days Are Over But Fate Is About To Intervene When The King Of The Picts, The Savage People Beyond Hadrian S Wall, Dies In Mysterious Circumstances, Castus Is Selected To Command The Bodyguard Of A Roman Envoy Sent To Negotiate With The BarbariansBut The Diplomatic Mission Ends In Bloody Tragedy Castus And His Men Are Soon Fighting For Their Lives And The Legionary Discovers That Nothing About His Doomed Mission Was Ever What It Seemed A very good look at the reign of Constantius Chlorius in Britain in the early fourth century It manages to combine action adventure heroics with a very accurate depiction of the realities of Roman life About the only problem I have with it is that the main action is done by a little past the halfway point, leaving the last part of the book feeling like an overextended epilogue But still a very good read. Where emperors are madeAurelius Castus, Roman centurion, is that sort of stolid, tough, illiterate, Pannonian peasant soldier upon which the Roman Empire came to depend in the Fourth Century, its twilight years A man to whom the army is life, who obeys his orders without question, he is sent on escort duty deep into the Pict lands far north of Hadrian s Wall The mission is mysterious, however his is not to reason why, but to protect the delegate sent to negotiate with the Pict leaders The mission is a failure, Castus men killed and Castus taken prisoner During the course of this imaginative novel, Castus becomes increasingly and unwillingly involved in politics at the highest level, and ultimately develops as a participant and protagonist.This is a good addition to the genre of Roman military novels The author is knowledgeable, his plot convincing, his characters sympathetic The violence which is typical of this sort of novel is ever present, but well integrated into the narrative I felt that this worked well, both as a standalone novel, and as the first in a very interesting series.
Ian Ross was born in England and studied painting before turning to writing fiction He has travelled widely and worked as a bookseller, tutor and university lecturer while developing his writing abilities A year in Italy teaching English and exploring the ruins of empire reawakened his early love for ancient history, and he returned to the UK with growing fascination for the period known as late
- 416 pages
- War at the Edge of the World (Twilight of Empire, #1)
- Ian James Ross
- 05 November 2019 Ian James Ross