Soldier of Rome: The Legionary

Soldier of Rome: The Legionary
by James Mace
Published 2006 by iUniverse
308 pages. Paperback.
Rating: 3/5

In the year A.D. 9, three Roman Legions under Quintilius Varus were betrayed by the Germanic war chief, Arminius, and then destroyed in the forest known as Teutoburger Wald. Six years later, Rome is finally ready to unleash Her vengeance on the barbarians. The Emperor Tiberius has sent Germanicus Caesar, his adopted son, into Germania with an army of 40,000 legionaries. They come not on a mission of conquest, but one of annihilation. With them is a young Legionary named Artorius. For him, the war is a personal vendetta – a chance to avenge his brother, who was killed in Teutoburger Wald.

In Germania, Arminius knows the Romans are coming. He realizes that the only way to fight the Romans is through deceit, cunning, and plenty of well-placed brute force. In truth, he is leery of Germanicus, knowing that he was trained to be a master of war by the Emperor himself.

The entire Roman Empire held its breath as Germanicus and Arminius faced each other in what would become the most brutal and savage campaign the world had seen in a generation; a campaign that could only end in a holocaust of fire and blood.

Rich in history with a narrative style. I was amazed by how authentic it felt. Mace definitely did his research. He turned a historical event into an epic story by adding fictional details and weaving extra devices in the plot: characters to relate to, a quest for vengeance and justice, appropriately descriptive writing.

Artorius is a great character. He has a lot of spirit and fierce loyalty for those he loves (as long as they’re loyal to him). After the initial re-telling of the battle of the Teutoburger Forest, the book follows Artorius through training with a detail that only a soldier could understand. I can only imagine that Mace’s military background is helpful in recounting the vigorous training one goes though to become a soldier. And even then, I imagine it was much worse for Roman soldiers than it is for the U.S. military today. The book gives great insight into military life. It interesting to think about what might have remained the same in military training and what the Romans might have done.

The book progresses through their journey and into the battle itself, laying out military strategy. Again, things only a soldier could really understand. Mace does a terrific job of using those elements to create a great narrative. It was interesting to watch Artorios grow from a boy into a man, and his brothers in the Legion were really good addition to the story. Mace wrote them well.

There are some little extras at the beginning of the book that are very helpful: a cast list of characters, explanations of ranks in the Roman military, and blood lines and family trees. It’s all pretty necessary to keep things straight. Since we don’t use Latin names anymore, it can be a little confusing. The cast list is particularly helpful.

It’s not exactly something I would choose for myself while out book shopping, but I didn’t have any difficulty getting into it. I like historical stuff, and I spent a semester of college reading nothing but combat narratives for an English class, so I like reading about war now and then. If you’re into historical fiction or combat narratives, you should try this one out. It’s well-written and full of great characters, but remains grounded in Roman history.

Prude Filter: This book contains profanity, brutal violence, sexual content, and references to rape. I think it’s more of an adult book, but I could see a mature teen doing well with it, too.

Source: Pump Up You Book
Author’s website: http://www.legionarybooks.net/
Purchase this book: iUniverse | Book Depository | IndieBound

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from the author. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book’s publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Come back tomorrow for a guest post by the author, where he gives a little more information about writing his books.

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2 Comments

  1. I usually don't read historical fiction, but I've always enjoyed stories that take place in ancient Rome. Maybe it was Russell Crowe in Gladiator that won me over! ;)Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? 🙂 http://rachelbrookswrites.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  2. Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm coming to visit and follow now. 🙂

    Reply

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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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