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by Preston Holtry

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PROCLAIMED A HERO OF ROME, CENTURION MARCUS ARRIUS IS OFFERED COMMAND OF THE PRAETORIAN GUARD IN ROME BUT INSTEAD CHOOSES DUTY ON HADRIAN'S WALL AS FAR FROM ROME AS HE CAN GET. "By the gods, I had no idea there would be this many." Arrius looked at General Gallius. "Did you know anything about this before we came here?""Commander Turbo told me to expect some resistance as we approached Beth Thera, but I did not expect the entire Jewish Army. We will need Jupiter's help this day for certain. What do you estimate their strength to be?" "Possibly 20-25 thousand, perhaps more behind those hills." Arrius now understood the intense expression on Turbo's face when he said farewell three days ago. "General, I believe it was not intended for you to know more than you were told. We are the sacrificial goat staked out as Turbo's bait."Marcus Arrius is the senior centurion of the ill-fated XXII Legion, Deiotariana, serving in Judaea during the second century Roman Empire. Focused on duty and his men to the exclusion of all else, Arrius is a loyal, battle-tested soldier. Following Hadrian's brutal suppression of the second Jewish revolt in Judaea in 135 CE, his core belief in Rome begins to erode without fully understanding why. For his exploits in Judaea, he is decorated and given his choice of assignments in Rome including command of the Praetorian Guard. His request for duty on Hadrian's Wall instead surprises both the generals and Arrius himself. It will be Ilya, a beautiful native woman in Britannia, who will become the catalyst for understanding why he chose command of an obscure frontier fort instead of fame and fortune in Rome."...sets a new standard for the historical novel ... A stunning piece of historical fiction."--Hank Luce, author of A Darkness in the Pines."... a deep knowledge of both the Roman Army and the campaigns they fought ... The first in a trilogy, I can see this book addicting readers."--Griff Hosker, author of the Norman Genesis series, The Anarchy series and Sword of Cartimandua series."... an intense and beautifully written story ... the strength of this novel lies in the depth of the characters and the vivid imagery of ancient times ... a master storyteller .. he hits a home run in the first installment of the Arrius trilogy."--Steve Brigman, author of The Orphan Train." ... extensive research, the creation of well-crafted plots, realistic characters, detailed scenes, fast paced stories. ... A great read--can't wait for the sequel."--Randall Krzak, author of The Kurdish Connection.… (more)
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Most promising trilogy, although all volumes have not yet been written. This is the story of Marcus Junius Arrius, who rises from aquilifer to praefectus of two auxiliary units on Hadrians's Wall. He fights in the Bar Kokhba Rebellion in Judaea against Roman rule, and comes away with a hatred of warfare. He has seen too much blood, killing, and destruction in his 20+ years in the Roman Army. Also, with the suicide of a Jewish prisoner, he sees where the enemy are willing to fight for an ideology, not for personal glory. This is a most unusual and sympathetic main character and I am eager to see where the story leads. Each character is given a human face. I liked the fact the hero was not a dashing, handsome young man, but middle aged and scarred. I learned a lot about this Rebellion. I feel the author did his research.

Highly recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | Feb 9, 2018 |
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