If you read novels to take your mind off the bills or the divorce or tax time, then this novel may please you. If you are hoping to learn more about Roman history or Latin or whatever, then this is not the book for you. Several reviewers have complained about the lack of depth of the characters, but they are deep enough. Others have said that the scenes are not realistic or the Optio, Cato, not believable because of his youth and inexperience. This isn't Moby Dick, people. It's like a romance novel for guys (d*** lit) -- there are lots of characters, lots of action, some love scenes, heroes, villains, exotic locations (well, I don't know if the British Isles count as exotic), historical people... Fun! I spent many a night telling myself "only one more chapter..." and paying for it the next day. I thought the scenes moved quickly, the conversations were pretty believable (despite the PC modernity of a few of them), the battle scenes easy to follow, and the characters drawn well enough to maintain my interest. You may never see this novel offered up as great literature at the local college, but judging by what passes at literature these days, I may have to eat my words.