The Legionary Chronicles by Adam Nichols

Gaius, an ordinary sheep herder living in the countryside, has always longed to be a soldier in the Roman army. He gets his chance when he attracts the attention of a passing proconsul, who turns out to be Caesar himself. At Caesar's invitation, Gaius joins the Roman army, eager to fight exciting battles, avenge his father and find his fortune. Sure enough, his legion is soon engaged in all sorts of bloody battles, with Gaius and his friends often finding themselves fighting for their lives. But the battles are not Gaius' only concern. He's barely stepped into camp when he runs into Lanius, another soldier who immediately takes a disliking to Gaius. When he discovers a sword protruding from his bed after Lanius sneaks into his tent, he can't help but suspect Lanius' intentions are more sinister than he first thought.

I personally like to read historical fiction once in a while -- though the only other title I've read with a setting in Ancient Rome is the Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff back in university. I do remember enjoying the action and plot in the book, so I was interested in trying this series by Adam Nichols.

The first book of the series, War in Gaul, has a bit of a slow start and I found myself anxiously waiting for some serious action in the battlefield. There's a fair bit of conversation and description of the various characters and warring nations and it's not until near the middle of the book that you see the first large scale battle -- and Gaius ends up watching it, rather than actively participating. The book is written in old 'Roman speak', which helps to establish the era and culture, but has the potential to make things more tedious to read. That said, things steadily pick up after that, and Gaius has some exciting encounters with enemies trying to hack him up with various weaponry. The scenes are quite descriptive at times as well, and give a glimpse of the horrible, chaotic massacre the battles really were. There are plenty of historical, geographical and religious references in the story that are explained by footnotes at the end of each chapter. It was good to have these at this location instead of within the text, because I'm sure so many details would really bog down the plot.

I found the second book, The Golden Eagle, to be more interesting, mainly because the plot moved faster -- but I am still waiting for events and characters to come together to build and reach a real climax. Lanius is definitely a mysterious character that I hope will continue to add intrigue and an extra layer of complexity to the story.

I think this series will appeal to teens who are looking for historical fiction that gives a real sense of the era in which it takes place. And once they hit the bits with swords hacking and spears flying, they might want to read the entire series.

Check out the Legionary Chronicles on Adam Nichols' amazon page

Email Facebook Twitter Favorites More


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...