This is a book which really grabs you. It is in no way a bad novel, just not as strong as the others. I have to admit to several laugh out loud moments reading this book and I would love to add one of the Review: When I read Leopard Sword 6 months ago I was shocked at how much further Anthony Riches story telling depth had increased, his books have always been my favourite in terms of pace and sheer fun, but Leopard Sword took it further with twists and turns that had never been there before. This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children. They will have to fight to the death to save the honour of the empire - and their own skins.
It falls to Flavius Ferox, Briton and Roman centurion, to keep the peace. They would make a mighty prize for the marauding Sarmatae tribesmen who threaten the province, and the outnumbered auxiliaries are entrusted with their safety in the face of a barbarian invasion. He has a knack of bringing soldiers to life, with all their coarseness and brutality, loyalty and affection. Cato and Macro, since they are detached officers, have much more credibility in the hands of Scarrow as those heroes march all over the empire. Twelve families keep order with soldiers and artefacts, spies and memories, clinging to a peace that shifts and crumbles. For more book reviews check out This is the fifth in an excellent series, but perhaps the weakest.
In this case we are introduced to not one, but two, future attempted usurpers of Imperial power. I try to check these occasionally, but if you find one not working, please drop me a comment. But now the weakened empire faces a desperate threat: Queen Zenobia of Palmyra has turned her Roman-trained army against her former masters, and the once invincible legions have been crushed. They will have to fight to the death to save the honour of the empire — and their own skins. Riches tells a compelling tale that spares no one and had me blinking in shock at some of the turns of events in the book. Cue Tony's curveball: The Leopard Sword. There he finds a very different world from the turbulent British frontier — but one with its own dangers.
That said, this book possibly out of all the Empire books, would easily make a good live action adaptation - or maybe that's my wish to see this played out on screen that's the father of that thought. One thing I am getting my head around as I branch out into the ancient era is that unlike later more contemporary periods such as the 19th and 20th centuries conflicts where there is a lot more factual data to get to grips with and many more first person primary accounts to digest and help inform the wargaming, you just don't get that for Rome and her wars and thus the historical novel has a very important role to play in providing that missing input alongside the worthy historical tomes that underpin the hobby. Every step of the way, he is shadowed by a notorious assassin with orders to dispatch him to hell. Part of my job s down those very same years, was to spot exactly this sort of thing. The mistake here is to make our heroes confront Villains from all over. This time we are plunged into Dacia, where threats come from every side, hardly surprising when there's a valley of gold catching everyone's eye.
Finding the Dacian kingdom in crisis, one of the Sarmatian's affiliated tribes, the Iazyges settled first near the mouth of the Danube in modern-day Rumania then continued into modern-day Hungary. From the might of Sarmatian hordes and their perfidious nobles to the treachery of self-serving mine owners, the untrustworthiness of border troops, the mindless buffoonery of the upper class legionary Tribunes, the madness of battles on ice, and the heart-pounding stealthy infiltrations of installations by a few good men, Wolf's Gold should win on many levels and certainly does with me. The mines of Alburnus Major contain enough gold to pave the road to Rome. But the mercenary bands and belligerent lords will not give up their hard-won spoils to honour a defeated king's promises. With rampaging barbarians, dubious allies and an incompetent leader, the cohorts face their toughest battle yet.
An example is the use of Dubnus who is one of my favourite characters in the series but is hardly mentioned in this book. An absolute must for any Roman histfic fan! This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. It is in no way a bad novel, just not as strong as the others. Then when the cohorts finally reach the gold mines they must hurriedly build defenses before confrontation with an almost overwhelming force of Sarmatae warriors. Whilst there he and his comrades face off not only Sarmatian cavalry but errant auxiliary allies and duplicitous Roman senior officers out to further their careers at anyone's expense, all good stuff. As I buy and pay for my books with my own hard-earned money, I can be both immune and more objective.
This is the fifth book in the Empire Series, the story of Marcus Valerius Aquila. The German chieftain Arminius has been defeated, one of the lost Roman eagles recovered and thousands of German tribesmen slain. The Tungrian Auxiliary cohorts are recovering after their hard fought victory in Germania. Another affiliated tribe, the Roxolani settled in the lower reaches of the Danube. Anthony Riches is brilliant at both. Backstory of that plot is tendered where it probably shouldn't have been or should have been given us much earlier. I've done reviews of the others so far, and I would reference them in this review.
For someone who isn't that familiar with Roman history beyond the well-known facts, especially outside of Western Europe, trying to find my feet in the terminology and geography of the Roman world was a bit difficult at first, but I soon found my footing and settled into it. Beset by both the Sarmatian horde and more subtle threats offered by men who should be their comrades, the Tungrians must also come to terms with the danger posed by a new and unexpected enemy. Cue Tony's curveball: The Leopard Sword. Having read reviews and spoken to people since, I'm not sure how well-received the change was. After a while you start to work out where the plot is going and who to keep an eye on and somehow it starts to feel a bit predictable. There are also some very inventive ways of executing people in this book.