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65 Works 764 Members 31 Reviews

About the Author

Disambiguation Notice:

Tales of Ancient Rome was the original title for Tales of Ancient Rome Volume 1, which is the second edition with some different content. Volume 2 is planned.

Image credit: Official author photo


Works by S.J.A. Turney

A Year of Ravens (2015) 51 copies
Caligula (2018) 46 copies
A Song of War (2016) 36 copies
Interregnum (2009) 29 copies
Praetorian: The Great Game (2015) 15 copies
Ironroot (2010) 13 copies
Daughter of War (2018) 10 copies
Domitian (2022) 8 copies
Dark Empress (2011) 8 copies
Praetorian: Lions of Rome (2019) 7 copies
Para Bellum (2023) 5 copies
Bear and the Wolf (2017) 5 copies
City of God (2019) 4 copies
The Last Emir (2018) 4 copies
Invasion (2017) 4 copies
The Pasha's Tale (2015) 4 copies
Jade Empire (2017) 4 copies
Caracalla (2023) 3 copies
Deva Tales (2017) 1 copy
Vengeance (2020) 1 copy
L'imperatore dannato (2019) 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Other names
Turney, Simon
Country (for map)
Ripon, North Yorkshire, England, UK
Places of residence
North Yorkshire, England, UK
The Open University
civil servant
computer network manager
Society of Authors
Mulcahy Associates
Disambiguation notice
Tales of Ancient Rome was the original title for Tales of Ancient Rome Volume 1, which is the second edition with some different content. Volume 2 is planned.



This. Was. So. Good! Reading about tragic historical events is so bittersweet. On the one hand, I'm learning about a new era and meeting engaging characters. On the other, I know they're basically all going to die. It's like meeting a new friend only for them to suddenly move away, but the time I spent with this book was still so rewarding, that I recommend you read this book anyway.

My favorite stories were Dray's The Queen, Quinn's The Warrior, and Knight's The Daughters. These stories were poignant and full of soul. Dray's Cartimandua was a perfect foil to Boudica while Knight's Sorcha and Keena were the perfect vehicle to show us the infamous warrior queen. They sacrifices really sung from the page. As for Quinn, she wrote about the epic battle, which was heart-wrenching, even though I knew what was going to happen. What made it so sad was Duro and Valeria. Quinn really brought them to life. I understood and sympathized with both of them, which is no easy feat when the characters are sworn enemies. Quinn is truly masterful.

Middle of the road for me was Downie's The Slave, Shecter's The Druid, and Turney's The Son. It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I didn't like about them. I guess their stories felt kind of small to me compared to the ones I liked.

My least favorite story was Whitfield's The Tribune about Agricola. I found this story dragged, and I had a hard time understanding how it related to the rest of the narrative. Eventually, it made sense, but it felt very detached and slow. I think this was partially because this is one of the few stories that doesn't get split up between two perspectives, so it was a bit of a slog to get through.

If you like doomed histories, you'll love this!
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readerbug2 | 5 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |
This book took me FOREVER to finish. I read the first two installments in this series-A Day of Fire and A Year of Ravens. Those feature a myriad of complex and sympathetic characters that made me feel for them all the more because their lives centered around such a tragic moment in history. Maybe it was because Song of War was all about fictional characters and a fictional war that it lacked the same emotional impact as its predecessors. There was a story or two that shone above the rest, but overall, I just didn't care and couldn't wait for it to be over. I would've given up if I wasn't so stubborn.

Kate Quinn opened this anthology, and she is flawless as always. Everything she writes is amazing and layered and transports me to another era. Even in short story format, her story The Apple is no exception.

I also liked Shecter's The Horse, but that was because it was succinct.

Thornton's story of The Prophecy was middling for me. Cassandra was a compelling character, but the story felt repetitive and unremarkable.

Everything else I couldn't stand, particularly Whitfield's piece about Agamnemnon. Gosh, was that a slog. I couldn't care less about a character than I did about him. He was either drunk or in heat the whole time. There was no evidence of the great king he was supposed to be. A major letdown of one of mythologies more well-known characters.

As for everything else, all you need to know is that everyone was either screwing each other or wanted to. That's pretty much it. Now, I like some good Harlequin every now and then, but this was all just angsty and "I'm drawn to him but I don't love him. He's too powerful for an emotion as human as love." Blah blah blah. Please. Spare me.

So, I'll spare you, reader of my review. Read maybe the first couple stories, and then just go read the Iliad. You're not missing any nuance by skipping this.
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readerbug2 | 4 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |
As a frumentarius, Rufinus goes to the near east to find a missing frumentarius with a list Niger the usurper would be interested in obtaining. He takes with him a Jew who knows the languages and territory. After successfully finding the man they are looking for, now they are tracking a possible assassin of Septimius Severus. Rufinus' wife is overbearing and obnoxious; I do not like her. I'm glad she is not a main character in this novel. Violence and adventure abound. There is a traitor among Rufinus' colleagues who nearly spoils the story.… (more)
janerawoof | Jul 3, 2023 |
Exciting and informative novel about a capsarius [combat medic] during Emperor Augustus's reign. The capsarius and his legion are transferred to Egypt from Galatia [modern Turkey]. The story covers how this legion fits in with the other legion sharing the same fort--the XII, especially Cervianus, who has been shunned by the other legionaries because of his seeming bringing bad luck, his scientific turn of mind, and perhaps jealousy. He does find two friends, Ulyxes, an outspoken troublemaker and an Egyptian auxiliary cavalry officer, Shenti. They undergo a harrowing anabasis south to Kush [modern Sudan] where they hope to take revenge on a Kushite attack on Roman territory. They take back a fort at the border. Their commander wants to push on into Kushite territory and defeat the Kushites completely. There are instances where we see what a capsarius does; Cervianus is just fulfilling his Hippocratic oath, even to men who have snubbed him and one who has been bitten by a crocodile for whom he cares, with no help from his own medical staff. The story ended on a cliffhanger--preparations for a further march south. If there is a sequel, I'd like to read it.… (more)
1 vote
janerawoof | Apr 10, 2022 |



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Associated Authors

Russell Whitfield Contributor
Ruth Downie Contributor
Kate Quinn Contributor
Stephanie Dray Contributor
Christian Cameron Contributor
Libbie Hawker Contributor
Ben Kane Introduction, Contributor
Glyn Iliffe Introduction
Michelle Moran Introduction
E. Knight Contributor
Sophie Perinot Contributor



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