I stumbled across this at my local library, while searching for another title. It is no suprise to me now that I cannot remember what else I was looking for, as the minute I opened this book I was immediately pulled into this intriguing world Jack Whyte has built.
Gaius Publius Varrus is a Roman soldier in the 4th century, traveling the world and fighting off pagan armies with his close friend and superior, Caius Brittanicus. In both men, a deep love for their empire, the Roman province of Britain, and each other drives them forward. All this would provide ample material for a good book, but Whyte has more up his sleeve.
The story really starts when Varrus leaves the army after a crippling wound leaves him unable to fight, at least by Roman standards. He travels home to Britain and begins pursuing his life-long ambition of becoming an iron-smith, which he does very happily and succesfully for some years. Britannicus also returns from the army a decade or so later, and although the reunion is sweet, a big problem looms on the horizon.
The Roman Empire is falling.
Thus beings this sweeping tale, filled with action, gore, sex, and plenty of intresting dialogue, characters, and places. As you follow Varrus and Britannicus as they attempt to build Camulod and save themselves, their friends, and their family from the ruin which will become their world, you will become hopelessly lost in these pages. So you might as well buy it and get it over with, so you can go on and read the other books in Jack Whyte's "Camulod Chronicles" series (which just keep getting better and better, by the way). A warning, however: material is extremely violent and sexual in some places, and probably is way too mature for anyone under 14. However, I don't think the sexuality or violence takes away from the story in the least, as some other critics have mentioned. Rather, I believe it only adds to the story to reveal important traits of Jack Whyte's characters.