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Review: Vindolanda

Adrian Goldsworthy

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


The book “Vindolanda” by Adrian Goldsworthy is the first volume of the newest trilogy on the Polish market by a widely read and well-known English historian. The author sets the first part of the series in 98 CE and tells the story of the fate of Roman soldiers who serve in northern Britain. The book was published in Poland by REBIS publishing house.

Adrian Goldsworthy is known primarily for his scientific publications focusing on the Roman army. He is perceived all over the world as an outstanding historian who, according to many (e.g. Harry Sidebottom), has the greatest knowledge about the Roman legions, and what’s more, he writes excellently about them.

“Vindolanda” is the author’s attempt to move away from cross-sectional works in favor of historical novels. His latest series focuses on the description of the northern border of the Roman Empire and the struggles of Roman soldiers, including: in Vindolanda Fort. There is no shortage of romance and eroticism here, and above all, battle scenes.

The main character is centurion Flavius Ferox, a Brit by birth, who heads a unit in northern Britain and is tasked with sorting out the situation on the border. The loss of his wife somehow forces him to focus on his service and get involved in the complicated situation on the northern border. There is no shortage of intrigue, dangerous missions and competition with druids.

It is worth mentioning that Vindolanda was a Roman camp established in the 1st century CE and was intended – like many structures of this type – to secure lands in Britain under Roman rule. Numerous forts were intended to ward off attacks by tribes from what is now Scotland.
Currently, Vindolanda consists primarily of numerous remains of former structures and numerous artifacts that scientists still find today. There is also a museum about Roman history on the site of the former camp.

As for the edition – as usual, it is worth emphasizing the very nice print, cover and content arrangement. The reader also receives an overview map of northern Britain. The author made sure to include a solid dose of knowledge; therefore, at the end of the publication we will find a historical note and a glossary, which include more important issues and terms used in the content.

To sum up, the first volume is absolutely very interesting and will certainly interest every enthusiast of Roman and military history. The author’s knowledge combined perfectly with the action and it is worth appreciating the writer’s new work.

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