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Review: Siege

Geraint Jones

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


The book “Siege” by Geraint Jones is another part of the historical novel telling the fate of the legionary Felix-Corvus and his friends. In the previous part – “Bloody Forest” – the hero took part in the tragic expedition of three Roman legions in North Germany, which led to the defeat of Rome in the Teutoburg forest. Few Romans managed to survive, and those who did end up in German captivity. The officer cadre was wiped out, after earlier torture and disclosure of information about Roman fortifications in the area.

After finishing the first volume of the novel, I was convinced that the author would not leave the story without a clear ending. From the records of Roman historians, we know that the killing of three Roman legions was a shock to Emperor Augustus himself, who was supposed to walk around the palace shouting: “Quinctilius Varus, give back the legions” (Quinctili Vare, legiones redde!). Certainly, the blow was also so strong that the territorial gains in Germania were suddenly lost, and the areas west of the Rhine were in danger.

However, what interests the author the most is an attempt to reconstruct the fate of those soldiers who survived the massacre. Certainly, some managed to fight their way to the Roman forts, and still, others seized the opportunity to flee and join other Roman forces in the area. The author is now presenting the latter version of events. Felix, together with his living companions: Kikut, Mico, Brando, joins the besieged Roman army in one of the forts in the region. We are shown the real world of war – full of pain, suffering, and blood. As in the previous part, the author uses many epithets to emphasize drama, exhaustion, and brutality. You can certainly see here the experience of the author, who is a war veteran and knows what barracks life looks like.

The description of fights, sneaking, and tricks is extremely vivid and interesting. There are also mysterious murders within the walls of the fort, which only adds to the mystery and suspicion of subsequent characters. The author, in accordance with the preserved historical records, tries to reproduce the successive threads of the events, diversifying them with his own thoughts.

The author, wanting to take us into the world of barracks life, uses a large amount of profanity, which in my opinion is sometimes a bit strange. I’m not going to mention them in the review, but the Romans’ description of the Germans as “goat lovers” is strange, to say the least. Perhaps this is due to a mistranslation; hard to say unequivocally.

Certainly, people who have read the first volume and were interested will get acquainted with the next part of Felix’s adventures. The action is extremely fast, and lovers of militaria will enjoy the multitude of clashes, bloody descriptions, and a credible representation of the life of a Roman soldier.

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