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Review: Warrior of Rome. Caspian Gates

Harry Sidebottom

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Warrior of Rome. Caspian Gates

The book “Caspian Gates” is the fourth part of a five-volume historical novel entitled “Warrior of Rome”, in which the author Harry Sidebottom leads the fate of a Romanized Briton – Ballista – towards Asia Minor and the mountains of the Caucasus. The barbarian is sent by the emperor Galien with a mission to secure the passage through the mountain massif and stop the invasion of the barbarian Alamanni on the territory of Rome. Meanwhile, Balista has to deal with a huge earthquake in Ephesus and the invasions of the Goths in Asia Minor.

The next volume of the author’s novel is an example and proof of his great knowledge of the realities of the ancient world and Rome. It perfectly creates and recreates the historical background, heroes, social relations, the way of thinking of people of that period, and above all military aspects. We learn how to fight at sea, the invasions of the Goths or the weapons of the wild tribes of the north. Everything is shown professionally and with knowledge of the subject. The earthquake in Ephesus and the rescue operation are shown very colorfully. Ballista has to take care of the family and at the same time help the needy inhabitants of the city collapsed by rubble. He is also sent to Miletus, where he is to prepare the city for defense against the dangerous Goths.

The author each time ends the next novel in such a way as to leave the door open to writing more adventures of Ballista. In the previous parts, the hero faced the Sassanids, was proclaimed emperor, which greatly undermined his reputation in the eyes of the rightful emperor Galien. Luckily for himself, Balista quickly gave up the purple, which somewhat whitened him. Emperor Galien, after capturing the co-ruler Valerian I at Edessa in 260 CE, became extremely suspicious and attentive. This period in the history of Rome is called the Crisis of the Third Century. The empire is torn apart by civil wars, rivalry for the throne, and border fighting. The ballista must successfully maneuver in the uncertain world of politics and power.

The book is proof that the author has a great pen, imagination and vast knowledge of ancient topics. At times it seems that the author creates a world too dynamic and mixes up too many threads. On the other hand, this is what this period in the history of Rome certainly looked like. Every minute something happened in different regions and affected other threads. The author, in his own way, ended the volume and prepared readers to follow the next part in bookstores. For which many lovers of antiquity and militaria will certainly reach.

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