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Swords Around The Throne (Twilight of Empire)

2.4 (1976)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Swords Around The Throne (Twilight of Empire).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Ian Ross(Author)

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3.4 (11709)
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Book details

  • PDF | Unknown pages
  • Ian Ross(Author)
  • Head of Zeus (July 2, 2015)
  • English
  • 4
  • Other books

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Review Text

  • By AJH on July 21, 2015

    While from a plot perspective this sequel is not as compelling as the earlier books it none the less is of sufficient interest to be enjoyable. Of much greater interest is the unusual late empire setting with the rise of early christianity and its role in changing attitudes within the population. The internal discord that wracked the later empire is also well illustrated and provides the basis for the story.

  • By J. Lamp on January 23, 2016

    Its ok, not great, but good reading, which takes you to a rarely covered historical era.

  • By Jonni Davis on August 9, 2016

    Loved it, good old fast paced Roman chivalry, plus the dark side. Roll on number 4.

  • By normsky on September 21, 2016

    Another fantastic novel by Ian Ross and always looking forward to the next book.

  • By JPS on July 12, 2015

    This is the second instalment of “Twilight of Empire”, Ian Ross’ series of books on the reign of Emperor Constantine, and the author’s second book. In a nutshell, it is as good as the first one, is easily worth five stars and I can only recommend it.This volume closely follows the first one which was centred on the hero’s involvement in the proclamation of Constantine as Augustus by his father’s field army in Eboracum when Constantius Chlorus died. This time, the action mostly takes place in Gaul, both along the Rhine frontier and in the south of Gaul between the years AD 306 and AD. The episode that is covered is the power struggle between Constantine and his father-in-law, Maximinian, the former Emperor and colleague of Diocletian whom the latter had forced to resign and who attempts a come-back at the expense of his son in law.Again, the author’s historical research has clearly been thorough and he has been meticulously attentive to details, and to delivering an interpretation of historical events which, although not explicitly supported by the sources (and for obvious reasons as you will see) is nevertheless plausible and realistic. Essentially, the ageing colossus Maximinian tried and ultimately failed to usurp Constantine’s power while he was busy fighting off Germanic raids on the Rhine.Again also, the author has been very attentive and careful when describing the personalities of his main characters (and of the secondary ones as well, by the way!). In my review of the first book, I insisted on “the care taken in characterising the Pannonian Centurion Aurelius Castus.” He is a tough, strong and somewhat brutish-looking soldier, who rose from the ranks because of bravery on the field and who, in this episode, gets promoted to become one of the Emperor’s Protectores, again because of his bravery. He does not come from a privileged background. He is not handsome and he is not educated either. He is no square-jawed “super-hero”, in other words and tends to hide his complexes about his humble Pannonian origins behind a rather bluff and rough appearance. Above all, he is the quintessential Roman soldier of the Late Empire, of the kind that would deliver Emperors further on during the second half of the fourth century (Valentinian I and his brother Valens were also Pannonians).The historical characters, those of Constantine himself, of the large-than-life Maximinian and his lust for lost power, and of his daughter Fausta, are also particularly interesting. The role that the author makes the young teenager Fausta play may be fiction, as the author admits, but it is nevertheless quite plausible. The ruthless ambitions of her father and of her husband, however, are corroborated by the events in which they took part. That neither of them comes across are particularly sympathetic is not exactly surprising even if the coarse, selfish and unscrupulous old Emperor is perhaps the worse of the two. Also well captured through the fictional character of one Domina Sabina, the wide of a senator holding a financial post in Africa, is the fate of (and the terror experienced by) the aristocratic relatives of those who held high positions across the Empire and got caught in civil wars between contenders for the supreme power. They were hostages for the good behaviour of their relatives, at best, and their survival depended on their subservience.Another characteristic carried over from the first volume is the author’s attention to historical details. The map of the port of Massilia and the description of this city and of Treves are remarkable. Constantine did build a bridge across the Rhine and a fort at Deutz across the Rhine facing Colonia Aggripensis (modern Cologne). The Protectores, who were above all staff officers hand-picked because of their bravery and fidelity and could go on to command regiments of their own as tribunes, were initially used as bodyguards before their role was taken at least partly taken over by Constantine’s forty Candidati. These are only a few examples of the author’s attention to such details.The same care is shown when describing battles, even if this volume is perhaps more about plots, intrigues and assassination attempts. By describing to his readers was one of the Late Romans’ punitive expeditions could look like, the author shows that these were certainly no leisurely strolls and that, despite the Roman Army’s edge in pitched battles, it could be quite vulnerable to ambushes. The other major battle is the storming of Massilia, of which I will say nothing more to avoid spoilers.Again, the author comes up with an interesting historical note explaining his choices. This note also contains a host of valuable references – just about all the main ones on the period – which I can only recommend for anyone wanting to learn more about this period after finishing this exciting and well written book.

  • By Clemens Schoonderwoert on September 19, 2017

    This wonderful and thrilling 2nd volume of the Twilight of Empire series is absolutely a book that I thoroughly enjoyed again, for it's certainly as exciting or maybe even more so than it's predecessor, War at the Edge of the World (feel free and see my review on that book as well, if you like).The historical details which are used in this book are very well researched and described and the real events that took place are wonderfully pictured within this tale.Storytelling is of an absolute top-quality, and really so much so that it makes this book a joy to read from start to finish, simply because the story has pace as well as great interaction between the characters.This book is set, after a short prologue in AD 307, between the years AD 308-309, and our main character of the series Centurion Aurelius Castus, who has been summoned back from Britain, finds himself now promoted to the Corps of Protectores, "The Swords Around The Throne", after saving the Emperor Constantine's life in battle.Soon enough Castus finds himself caught up in a conspiracy to bring down the Emperor, and he discovers that the court is just as dangerous as a battlefield, because behind the scenes at the court of the Empire there are plots in the making, while betrayals and seductions are going on to make this same court a treacherous nest of vipers.What follows is an exciting book which is filled with greatly pictured battle scenes, which are mostly taking place in Gaul, and with very thrilling and murderous events that are also taking place at the heart of the Roman Empire.Fully recommended, because this is a very enjoyable read and thus it is for certain "A Fascinating Sequel"!


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