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Soldier of Rome: The Legionary: A Novel of the Twentieth Legion During the Campaigns of Germanicus Caesar [Paperback]

James Mace
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 2008
Rome's Vengeance In the year A.D. 9, three Roman Legions under Quintilius Varus were betrayed by the Germanic war chief, Arminius, and 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 his adopted son, Germanicus Caesar, into Germania with an army of forty-thousand legionaries. The 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 legions 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 collective 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.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Karoline TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Before I go further into reviewing this book, I am going to say, it's a 'guys' book. No fancy schmancy romantic war ideas, no going back to a tear stained love interest who was waiting for him to come back home or silly sappy love drama to make you cringe, etc etc you get the hint. This is full on brutal war descriptions, with the emphasis on brotherhood and fighting together against all odds.

The author did a really good job with his homework in making this book as historically accurate as possible, even providing footnotes, and where he got them from. I liked the amount of historical detail put into this book so every little moment was easily pictured, and descriptions of Roman military tactics, their weapons, and how they fought was well written. The plot was simple, and although it has been done before, it still served as a good basic story to introduce Artorius to the reader.

His development as a soldier was well done, although one could only assume the worst as it seemed that Artorius just got more angrier throughout the novel. The other characters in the book served as just supporting cast, although I wish there was more to them - although some had distinct personalities (Valens with his women, Magnus and his Northern ancestry) I wish there was just more development with them as I wanted to know more about these other characters too. It is a brutal book, battle scenes are written with extreme detail and the amount of violence is high. Although realistic because war is never something to be taken lightly, the sheer brutality of it described in this book may deter the readers from reading this.

The only other criticism I could see, is some readers might thing the testosterone level in this book really reaches its' limits.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of battles and tactics. Sept. 2 2008
Format:Paperback
A good adventure and worthwhile for those interested in the genre. Two criticisms: The author must have missed 4th grade spelling. He consistently spells "sight" as "site". Very annoying. Not a single place where it is spelled correctly. My other criticism is that after the "climax" he rattles on too long trying more character development, tying up loose ends and sharing tidbits of Roman lore. Overall a good try for a first time author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book Feb. 23 2009
Format:Paperback
This is an interesting novel that if you enjoy historical fiction will be right up your alley. The author pays a fair amount of detail to the everyday life and routine of the average Roman Legionary without becoming tedious or feeling like a history textbook. Over all the characters are well developed in this novel yet in some parts the protagonist seems to lack any internal conflict with the morality of his orders and/or his actions. I don't know if this is intentional or not but it sets up possible growth of characters in the series of books. Over all it was a good read and I plan to read the rest of the series.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  139 reviews
72 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read the Second Edition Aug. 3 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Unfortunately, I don't think people realize that Mr. Mace had this book edited and re-released because Amazon lumps the reviews of both editions together (even though they have different ISBN numbers). I've read both editions of "The Legionary." And while most of the criticisms regarding the spelling and grammar of the first edition are valid, it did not take away from my enjoyment of the book. Reading the second edition I saw that the author took the previous reviews to heart because the grammatical and spelling issues from before have been corrected. Even though the first edition has been discontinued, it still seems to be available. The ISBN for the revised version is 978-1-4401-0026-0.

As for the story itself, I really enjoyed it. One flaw that I often see in historical novels is the author will try and place 21st century morals on the characters, which takes away from the realism. James Mace avoids this, trying to make his characters as believable as possible for the time. Yes, there are some phrases that might be considered "modern," though I did not see it that way. In fact, I think he strikes a great balance between having his characters speak in a way that is not so dry, that the audience can relate to, while at the same time keeping things authentic. I later researched the campaigns of Germanicus and found that this story keeps very true to the facts.

One note: The violence in this book is extremely graphic and the story is laced with profanity, with some gratuitous sex thrown in. So this is definitely not something for younger readers.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, down in the trenches realism Aug. 10 2008
By Jared Binder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most contemporary Roman historical fiction deals with the famous (and sometimes infamous) figures at the top of the hierarchy of ancient Rome: Caesar, Cicero, Augustus, etc.... In " Soldier of Rome " Mr. Mace gives us a realistic glimpse into what it must have been like to train, camp and fight alongside some of historys' most respected soldiers. I have read much about the ancient Roman military and find a great wealth of fascinating tactical detail that other authors have neglected. Some readers have been off-put by the poor editing, but you shouldn't let the errors detract from what is a gritty, realistic look at the units, training, fighting techniques and tactic of the Roman military machine.
58 of 72 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Blood and guts present and accounted for; editor/proofreader AWOL Nov. 20 2007
By Blue in Washington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Soldier of Rome: The Legionary" has its moments. The author, James Mace, is able to keep the story of a young Roman soldier involved in wars on the Empire's northwest frontier moving along at a good pace. The book's greatest strength is the detailed information it provides about the Roman legions--their organization, methods of fighting, weapons, etc. Beyond that, there is little credible information about how Romans or anyone else in the period actually lived, day to day. There are also times when the story's dialogue could be dropped into the context of the Iraq war with few edits. And speaking of edits, this new novelist was badly served by his editors who did little more than run the text through spellcheck, from what I can see. There are repeated spelling mistakes as well as bizarre misuse of language--"...it would feel better later to have a spot of whine and perhaps get his hands on a tasty wench." This was written in all seriousness.

If you are into blood and gore and unending discussions of swords and other weapons, you will no doubt overlook the book's very numerous and obvious faults. If you are looking for more history and cleaner writing, this one isn't for you

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glaring spelling and grammar Dec 24 2007
By D. Chamberlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Perhaps Mr. Mace should have purchased the editorial package from this vanity press publisher, or at least the services of his high school english teacher. If your spelling and grammar skills are equal to those of current U.S. high school graduates then this book won't bother you, but for me the errors were very distracting and annoying. I am equally discouraged by those reviewers who complain about spelling and grammar but have errors in their own reviews.

Hopefully Mr. Mace will take greater care in his next installment to have someone do a better job of proofreading or perhaps take a few remedial language classes for his own betterment. Bad spelling and grammar in a book is like trying to watch a movie where the image keeps going blank and the sound goes out intermittently.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best legionary June 8 2007
By Stella F. Parker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the best book that I have ever read about the legions of Rome. The story of a legionary, followed through his training and his participation in actual battles, was very authentic. I am a Roman Historian and most books follow the Generals..... this follows the followers.... I would highly recommend it.
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