Thursday, 26 April 2012

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Empire 4: The Leopard Sword - Anthony Riches

Release Date: 26/04/12


Britannia has been subdued - and an epic new chapter in Marcus Valerius Aquila's life begins. The murderous Roman agents who nearly captured Marcus have been defeated by his friends. But in order to protect those very friends from the wrath of the emperor, he must leave the province which has been giving him shelter. As Marcus Tribulus Corvus, centurion of the second Tungrian auxiliary cohort, he leads his men from Hadrian's Wall to the Tungrians' original home in Germania Inferior. There he finds a very different world from the turbulent British frontier - but one with its own dangers. Tungrorum, the centre of a once-prosperous farming province, a city already brought low by the ravages of the eastern plague that has swept through the empire, is now threatened by an outbreak of brutally violent robbery. A bandit chieftain called Obduro, his identity always hidden behind an iron cavalry helmet, is robbing and killing with impunity. His sword - sharper, stronger and more deadly than any known to the Roman army - is the lethal symbol of his unstoppable power. And now he has moved beyond mere theft and threatens to destabilize the whole northern frontier of the empire ...


I’ve enjoyed Anthony’s books since he burst onto the seen a few years ago, they had a great combination of action, a familiar setting for me and added a cracking lead character who demonstrated both tenderness, naivety and the ability to fight when it came to it.

Add to this sharp prose, a great sense of pace which when backed with a writing style that’s very easy to get into, you can’t help but sit back and enjoy the adventure.

Here in the latest title there’s more of the same with a villain that’s the same level as Corvus, has a solid combat style which when accompanied with an almost mythical blade makes for a real challenge for our Centurion hero, almost as if he were a flip side of the same coin. Add to this the Tungarians’ marching back to their homelands to help take some of the heat from our hero with a graphic change of scenery and fighting style and all in this book was a pure joy from start to finish. I really can’t wait to see what Anthony comes up with next.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the previous books and can't wait to get my hands on this one. great series!


Matthew Lee Adams said...

Just took a look at the preview pages on Amazon. This one reads very cinematically - a very visual style, right off the bat.

Very nice cover as well.