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Legionary: Empire of Shades (Legionary 6)…

Legionary: Empire of Shades (Legionary 6) (Volume 6)

by Mr Gordon Doherty

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379 AD: Thracia has fallen to the Gothic horde...With the ashes of Adrianople still swirling in the air, the Eastern Roman Empire is in turmoil. The emperor is dead, the throne lies empty and the remaining fragments of the army are few and scattered. Numerius Vitellius Pavo, now Tribunus of the XI Claudia, tries to hold his patchwork ranks together amidst the storm. One of the few legions to have survived the disaster at Adrianople, the Claudia do what they can to keep alive the dying flame of hope.When word spreads of a new Eastern Emperor, those hopes rise. But the coming of this leader will stir the Gothic War to new heights. And it will cast Pavo headlong into the sights of the one responsible for the East's plight - a man mighty and seemingly untouchable, and one who will surely crush any who dares to challenge him.From the ashes of Adrianople, new heroes will rise... with dark ghosts in close pursuit.… (more)



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Another exciting adventure of now-Tribunus Pavo and the XI Claudia, this time fighting Goths. In the aftermath of Adrianople, the huge defeat of the Eastern Roman Army and the deaths of Pavo's comrades and superior officer, Pavo is promoted to that position and now must learn leadership. The lads do defeat a warlord, an easy task as this Ortwin is no comparison to Fritigern, the Gothic leader. More excitement comes in the form of a botched assassination attempt on Gratian, Western Emperor, and the efforts of a Speculator [high-level Agens in Rebus??] to discover the culprit. Pavo and his men are tasked with bringing a rag-tag group of Goths from beyond the Danubius to the Western Empire, not out of compassion, but because the men can swell Gratian's army. Gratian is painted in this novel as a complete villain. We follow them and witness a group of Gothic malcontents and extremists among them roiling the waters, both figuratively and literally. Finally, Pavo and his men are a reserve force, swooping in when the battle is nearly lost against the so-called "Black Horde", a breakaway group of Goths led by two men who had been cheated by Gratian after Adrianople. Gratian had reneged on a solemn promise.

I can see the author's improvement in writing style and I feel if he keeps on this trajectory, he's on to triumph after triumph. This novel was filled with his same trademark gory battles and skirmishes, without neglecting character development, even that of minor figures. The novel brimmed with betrayal, double crosses, treachery, comradeship, even plausible love interest made poignant. I personally see the author's need for injecting some bawdiness to bring out certain individuals' personality traits and as being part of soldiers' lives, but that doesn't mean it didn't make me uneasy. At least it was rather mild. The bragging of Sura got old fast. "Off" as a verb was used several times; to me that is too modern a term for this setting and jarred my ear; why didn't the author use the synonyms "finish off", "murder", or even "kill"? I did like the author's use of the Aesop-like fable of the goose and wolf and how it fit into the novel.

Highly recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | Jun 20, 2017 |
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