Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Soldier Of Rome: The Legionary by James Mace

Soldier of Rome:  The Legionary is Book One of The Artorian Chronicles.

In A.D. 9, three Roman Legions under the leadership of Quintilius Varus were almost annihilated by the treacherous Germanic War Chief, Arminius.  The Legions were being rallied to go take care of some Barbarian upheavals and while marching through Teutoburger Wald, the betrayal of Arminius is released and almost all of the men are destroyed.

However, a few of them managed to fight their way to freedom while watching and hearing the fighting of their comrades and the murders of their families as they desparately try to overcome the dangerous surroundings in which they were lead.  Feeling shame and degradation, the few remaining survivors return to their keep and are surprised to be welcomed with open arms and asked to return to their places of honour amongst the Legionnaires.

Six years later, the whole of Rome is ready for its revenge on the Teutoburger Wald massacre, and none more so than Artorius, who was nine at the time his brother, Metellus was killed during the raid.  Artorius has vowed from that day that he would do all that he could to be the best Legionnaire there is in order to exact the punishment the Germanic warriors and their families deserve.

With skill and strength, Artorius continues to prove his worth and exact his revenge, rising amongst his comrades thru the ranks.  His skill on the battlefield cannot be matched and his focus is true, oftentimes his guilt racks him for the suffering he has caused; he reminds himself of the atrocities the Germans had done to his own kind and his vigor is renewed.

I would give this a three and a half stars out of five.  I thought it was decently written however, there seemed to lack something, in which I am unable to pinpoint, but something was lacking in the descriptions of the battles, which were too short in some instances, and the interaction with the characters. 

I enjoyed Artorius and most of the Legionnaires, it was very interesting to read what life could have been like for those who have made war their life.  The training involved seemed intense and vigorous and the nights cold and lonely.  The reason to exact revenge was believable and you could feel for some of the warriors as they reminisced about that day in history. 

I thought Tiberius and Germanicus were well written and they added a flavourful appeal to the story, giving us a look at all sides of the Roman campaigns, from the Ceasar down to the lowliest military rank.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the military ranks and the author was kind enough to include a glossary of terms, for those who need to be refreshed as to each of the attributes found within the Roman Legions.  As well, we are given historical time lines in order to either further research what you have read or to keep track of where the story is compared to our own history of the times. 

I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good military read from an ancient band of warriors who have amassed themselves in our mainstream, reminding us of the valour and bravery of the men of old.  There are many graphic battle scenes so it is not for the weak of heart, the swearing involved is of modern terms and bothered me a little, not that I was there to know, but I don't think they used the terms of today back in A.D. 15.  I would've liked to have seen the true expletives that they would have used instead of today's modern slang.  I believe that James Mace has a decent backbone in which to continue with this series and I look forward to reading more!


In the year A.D. 9, three Roman Legions under Quintilius Varus were betrayed by the Germanic war chief, Arminius, and then 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 Germanicus Caesar, his adopted son, into Germania with an army of 40,000 legionaries. They 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 Romans 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 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.

 ** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by I see it~!! **