Thursday, 8 July 2010

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Empire: Arrows of Fury - Anthony Riches


The Battle of the Lost Eagle saved Hadrian's Wall, but the new Roman governor of Britannia must stamp out the rebellion of the northern tribes or risk losing the province. Rampaging south with sword and flame under the command of their murderous chieftain Calgus, they have stretched his forces to the limit. For Marcus - now simply Centurion Corvus of the 1st Tungrian cohort - the campaign has become doubly dangerous. As reinforcements flood into Britannia he is surrounded by new officers with no reason to protect him from the emperor's henchmen. Death could result from a careless word as easily as from an enemy spear Worse, one of them is close on his heels. While Marcus is training two centuries of Syrian archers to survive a barbarian charge and then take the fight back to their enemy, the new prefect of the 2nd Tungrians has discovered his secret. Only a miracle can save Marcus and the men who protect him from disgrace and death ...Anthony Riches once again brings meticulous research together with brilliant storytelling to capture the authentic feel of what life was like for the Roman Army in a brutal war with a remorseless enemy.


As a huge fan of Roman Historical Fiction I’ve always loved books set within the United Kingdom as it’s a chance for the reader to explore their heritage. What makes Anthony’s work even more special for me, is that its set on Hadrian’s Wall, which having grown up in Cumbria, is a place I’m more than familiar with.

With this being the second, and perhaps most difficult novel in a series for an author to write I was a little apprehensive as to how the title would develop and whether the characters would be as fun and fresh as I remembered or if they’d grow to acclimatise to their new domain. What Anthony does extremely well is writing combat sequences and when backed up with characters that you’ve come to care for makes it even more heart-stopping as each steps into the battle line. Add to the mix great villains, cracking dialogue and above all a soldier’s humour that just oozes from within the pages and it’s a title that I really can’t recommend enough.

Finally I want to wish Anthony the very best for his Help the Heroes Charity Walk (in full Roman Military gear.)

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