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Soldier of Rome: The Legionary: A Novel of the Twentieth Legion During the Campaigns of Germanicus Caesar Paperback – Nov 1 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Iuniverse Inc; 2 edition (Nov. 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440100268
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440100260
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,270,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Soldier of Rome: The Legionary" by James Mace is a historical fiction about the brotherhood of soldiers. You'll find soldiers engaged in desperate battles, hand-to-hand engagements, in the euphoria of victory and the agony of defeat. You'll learn what it's like for a young recruit to go through eight weeks of basic training.

I've read other books of this author, and I enjoy them greatly because they show what it means to live in the 1st-century AD from the common folks' view. Historians are limited to written records, otherwise they'd be accused of making things up. As we go back in history the common folk vanish from written records, and all that's left are the kings and generals, the notorious, the rich, the popular pundits and poets, the few women with political clout. The common folk get summarized with general statements.

Fiction histories (especially of the distant past) open a whole new dimension of common lifestyles, motives and emotional customs. That's why I think James Mace is an important and engaging author.
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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars 169 reviews
77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read the Second Edition Aug. 3 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on
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.
37 of 38 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
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.
61 of 76 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
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--" 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

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read May 23 2011
By kerry 431 - Published on
Format: Paperback
for the last few years I have been more and more interested in stories about ancient Rome and especially the Roman Legions. I am so glad I discovered this series by James Mace, it is incredibly good in its research and you can easily see he is a stickler for detail. I have learned a lot about Roman life and the action sequences are to say the least breathtaking. I have read all of the series so far and can't wait for the next one.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best legionary June 8 2007
By Stella F. Parker - Published on
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.