Perfect for fans of military and historical fiction—including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove—this stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. In the year 1218 AD, transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of warriors, worlds, and gods.
Ever hungry for land and gold, the Emperor has sent Praetor Gaius Marcellinus and the 33rd Roman Legion into the newly discovered lands of North America. Marcellinus and his men expect easy victory over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of a vast river the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has ever imagined.
Forced to watch his vaunted force massacred by a surprisingly tenacious enemy, Marcellinus is spared by his captors and kept alive for his military knowledge. As he recovers and learns more about these proud people, he can’t help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the denizens of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats—both Roman and Native—promise to assail his newfound kin, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict.
*** I received an ARC copy from NetGalley for an honest review***
I was excited to read this book just from the blurb and the book cover. Having found authors I’ve fallen in love with and voraciously read everything they had written just by the cover art alone, I looked forward to beginning my journey. Unfortunately, this book was not for me.
While I found the fantastical journey of the Romans through the new country intriguing, I became bogged down by the historical details and the squabbling one assumes would happen with so many men so far away from home. In stating such, I am not sure what I was expecting, but definitely expected the story line to move much faster than it did and not drag on. However, my preferences aside, I felt the character development of Marcellinus’ character was the only one that mattered to the author and therefore the first half of the book could have been completed in considerably less time. The transition in time from when Marcellinus is captured to his quick adaptation to the early Cahokia sign language left me back burying the dead. I couldn’t feel the passage of time at all.
To be fair, historical fiction is not my favorite genre and I only requested to read this book because it was advertised as fantasy/science fiction genre. Therefore, I decided to split the difference with my rating.