Richard Foreman's SWORD OF EMPIRE: PRAETORIAN
Book review by Dennis D. McDonald
This book popped up in my “recommended” list on Amazon and, eager for respite from more serious fare, I downloaded it.
I found it immensely enjoyable. I’ve always been partial to sword-and-sandal movies, plus I studied Latin for four years in high school. As I’ve grown older my understanding of the brutal realities of those ancient days has grown, even as my appreciation of the realities of government and politics has also matured.
The elements of the story will be familiar to many readers:
- The strong, silent hero nursing memories of a painful loss.
- Political skulduggery and backstabbing.
- The secret mission.
- Nick of time rescues.
- War in a distant land.
- The eager youngster.
- The final battle where not everything is resolved.
- A liberal sprinkling of things to be addressed in future series installments.
Along the way we have flaming arrows, the slitting of throats, early Christianity, and the presence of the fabled physician Galen (whom I pictured as being played by David Hyde Pierce).
I found very enjoyable both the characters and the author’s language.
The characters are recognizable and clearly drawn. I found it very easy to picture and get to know them. The writing is clear, direct, and replete with realistic imagery and flashes of humor. The author efficiently and skillfully metes out backstory throughout the novel. Also fun: occasional use of arcane terms like “scutum” which brought back some high school memories.
I look forward to the next in the series, SWORD OF EMPIRE: CENTURION.
Review copyright (c) 2014 by Dennis D. McDonald