Soldier of Rome: The Legionary: A Novel of the Twentieth Legion During the Campaigns of Germanicus Caesar Paperback – Nov 1 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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