Really excellent a Roman Patrick Obrian
Posted by Auto doorman on
What I like about Harry Sidebottom’s books is that they break down stereotypes that we, who have not formally studied the Classics, have in our imagination about the Roman Empire. Stereotypes have been introduced by television, movies and certain animated comic books. Before reading Dr Sidebottom’s books, I hadn’t heard of the Third Century Crisis or how the Empire changed during this period. They have forced me to research this period by reading material dealing with this period, the references for most of which can be found in Dr Sidebottom’s excellent epilogues themselves. They have opened up a different world for me, a “world within a world” as it were. The Roman Empire was not a static entity, but changed over time. From systems of administration, military organisation and taxation to clothing, religion, philosophy, ethnic makeup and financial currency. The stereotypical image of a 1st century A.D. legionary with his lorica segmentata armour, hordes of long-haired screaming barbarians or the clean-shaven, often debaucherous, toga-clad civilian is just a small part of the entire picture. Even their sense of “Roman-ness” itself must have changed from the days of the Republic to the Principate and beyond. Like Dr Sidebottom himself has said in interviews, they had a different moral landscape than us today. It is very tempting when writing historical fiction to create characters with modern sensibilities (they have a sense of universal suffrage, they abhor slavery, they care for the environment etc.). I think Dr Sidebottom has avoided this annoying tendency. I like the way he “zooms” into the character’s thought patterns and internal dialogues, like Demetrius’ prejudices and superstitions or Gallienus’ [self-deluded?] commune with his patron god, Hercules. It adds an additional sense of authenticity that is sometimes absent from other historical fiction dealing with the ancient past. The use of modern expletives and four-lettered words are used sparingly and with effect, as is modern colloquialisms. The latter is quite interesting. A paragraph or two can add a pleasant nuance to the work but when, as in some books whose authors I won’t name, the entire cast of characters sound like a bunch of English soccer hooligans then it becomes quite difficult to read, almost comical. Dr Sidebottom has avoided these extremities. I think that Dr Sidebottom has done an excellent job in bringing to life an era that few laypersons have really known about.
Posted by Andrew de Groot on
Good MorningI am just now finishing my second Warror of Rome Novel King of Kings and I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed both books immensely.I consider you and Bernard Cornwell the two best historical fiction authors working today.I have become a fan and I look forward to reading the rest of the Warrior of Rome series. Ken Herrmann USA
Posted by Ken Herrmann on
I have just read KIng of Kings lent to me by a friend. This is the first book of yours I have read and I enjoyed it immensely. I will look forward to reading more of your work. I have also recently become reacquainted with the historical novels of Ken Follett. I think you both have an incredible sense of detail and make the stories come alive even though the time scales are centuries apart. I wish now I had taken more notice of history lessons at school in the forties and fifties. Good luck .
Posted by aussiegeoff on
I have read and re-read all 5 of Dr. Harry Sidebottom's Warrior of Rome series. I enjoyed them all more so the second time around. Is there to be a sixth book ? I got the impression in the last pages of Wolves of the North that the saga was not over. I do hope I am not going to be disappointed.
Posted by email@example.com on
I have enjoyed all the books so far, the characters have been interesting and Harry's knowledge of the Roman world has been welded together with a great bit of fiction. I can't help thinking though that Ballista should've exited the scene or been knocked off after book three, with Harry taking up a story of another character from the period. They were enough around - the Emperor Gallienus was one of the most interesting figures of the third century empire, and then we have personalities such as the cavalry general Aureolus and the future Illyrian Emperors (Claudius Gothicus & Aurelian) who all served under Gallienus as capable military officers.
Posted by ErebusPasha on
I have just finnished the 5th book. The Wolves of the North, and I must say that I found it really enjoyable and exciting to read, I'm really looking foward to the 6th book that will be called : The Amber Road, and I would just like to know when this book might be getting released. Keep up the great workm The Warrior of Rome series is an epic series, thanks
Posted by Kealan on
On my first re - read of the Warrior of Rome series. As I approach the final pages of `The Caspian Gates' and with only `The Wolves of the North' left to entertain and educate me in such fine detail I cant help but wondering when Ballista will `ride again'. Always a `smashing read' complete with maps, glossary, and tough soldiers expletives - a 3rd Century `Sharpe', with more educating material than I have read before from other authors. Eagerly awaiting the next book. Thank you for the pleasure you have given me. Kind Regards. Paul
Posted by Paul on
Dear Dr SidebottomMy name is David, i live in France and i'm still waiting for the part 2 of the warrior of rome in french!! Just can't wait!!!! Are you allowed to tell me when i could have it in France??Thank you so much!!!!
Posted by dav135 on
Just finished the wolves of the north. Fantastic!! Please confirm there are more installments to follow.
Posted by Delboy on
Hi,I am currently reading Warrior of Rome,Caspian Gates,and wonder why Harry usedexpelatives of four letter words when other phrases would have been more appropriate,Were the servants aware of these terms at the time he is writing about,and I noticed Simon Scarrow used swear words in his books as well,which was an earlier period in Roamn Empire.Michael Williams
Posted by bluecap on
Has Dr. Sidebottom got any plans on writing about the late republic era? He doesn't much like Colleen McCullough's work. So, I was wondering how he would depict the scenes she writes about.
Posted by Pradeep on
I have just begun to read your series of books. The comments above suggest I am in for a treat.
I am curious about your choice of Character name; Calgacus. This is the latinised name of the Caledonia (or Picti) warrior who alledgely led the confederacy of Caledonia to face Agricola at the alledged battle of Mons Graupius in either AD 83 or AD 84.
Why the name Calgacus?
Posted by PJPS on
I'm looking forward to Book Five. I just have one question. Is Calgacus the real ghost of Maximinus Thrax? I dont know why he'd be doing it but the ghost only shows up when Ballista is nearby to Calgacus. I hope it isnt so but I'm suspicious.
Posted by HWilkinson91 on
Book 5 looks promisingly thick
Posted by Sabi on
Dear dr. Sidebottom!I have seen on amazon.co.uk that your fifth Ballista/novel is coming. Shall we know anything about it? A sample chapter, maybe?
Posted by Sabi on
Hi Mr Harry Sidebottom I have just completed the fourth series The Caspian Gates and once again a brilliant read. I am hoping that you have not decided to end the series as I believe that there is at least a final installment left which would close the book with a final chapter(pardon the punt). Thank you for the excellent adventure in the life of Ballista and the education into the historical civilisation of Rome.Biggest fan Down Under John
Posted by jhobbin on
Why does it say in 'Fire in the East' that the gesture to avert the evil eye is 'clenching of fist with thumb between INDEX AND FOREFINGER' ? Both 'Index finger' and 'forefinger' refer to the same thing, don't they? Should it be index and middle fingers?
Posted by Pradeep on
please all read ben kane's forgotten legion trilogy and i can recommend robyn young,both great authors.
Posted by carillion72 on
i have read all the books in the warrior of rome series,i feel like i am part of ballistas familia,brilliant read i could not put them down,i cannot wait for the next book,please hurry.
Dear Julia! If you liked these books you should read Steven Pressfield's novels. They are not about the roman era, but mostly about the hellenic world. Still, the writer is amazing, and his books are epic, if a bit too brutal, because he REALLY presents you the classic world.
Posted by Sabi on
Having read the first novel on the train going to Oxford bought in a rush I couldn't believe my luck. After the first chapter I was hooked, I have now read all of the books and loved every one of them. The stories are exciting, gripping and gruesome but realistic . The descriptions of everyday life and the politics of the time are the draw for me. The comment about Ballista being unfaithful is unfair ,the book is realistic enough to ensure that he represents some charaters of the time. Very rarely were Romans faithful . I love Ballista warts and all. Hope you are writing the next one Harry.
Does anyone know any books close to these novels to keep me going . I have already done Quo Vadis.
Posted by Julia on
Everybody! Stop complaining! This is the topic to praise the books.I liked the book and looking forward for the next one. Prof. H. S. did an excellent job with the way he moved the characters into a completely different area. Ballista is just getting deeper and deeper into trouble and tries to stay alive.One more thing: H. S. should find some other jokes...
Posted by Sabi on
In contrast to the last couple of comments I really enjoyed the caspian gates and thought it moved the overall plot line on in a new and interesting direction. what I love about these novels is how they allow you to observe the chaos and components of the empire in the third centuary through ballistas eyes, I also think the authors scholoarship comes through as he paints a realistic picture of the different moral compass the romans operated by as well as how the characters decisons are determined by the constant threat of death. The assessment of the state of the empire by gallianus was really excellent and sets the scene for ballistas future adventures where I presume he will end up fighting postumus in Gaul or joining up with the illyrian emperors or both( if I have my timelines right!). anyway for me this was a great new installmemt of the ballista story.
Posted by dave smethurst on
Having read your last three Warrior of Rome books I was really looking forward to The Caspian Gates. Well, how disappointed can one be. Lack of plot, padded out with unnecessary detail and poor description of the meagre action. It was almost as if you had run out of ideas or were just trying to deliver another story. I did read to the end, but could have given up on many occasions. Marks out of 10? 5. Try harder next time.
Posted by Hogbipe on
I have greatly enjoyed all four of your books. The historical minutiae that you throw in make them all the more enjoyable. Tezza
Posted by Tezza on
Finishing the first three books left me wanting to read the fourth more than I’ve ever wanted to read any other book in my life. However after 6 months of waiting I’ve found myself seriously disappointed with this sequel, there seemed to be no real story driving the book in the same way that captivated me with the previous three. I also found it quite upsetting as well as disappointing to read about Ballista constantly cheating on his wife, not only was his loyalty one of the main reasons I loved him as a character, but it was also another reason why I enjoyed reading the books so much. After reading this fourth instalment I doubt I’ll be reading the rest. Harry Sidebottom what has happened?
Posted by Emily on
Just finished "Caspian Gates". While it is a good book the sinopsis is a bit of false advertising since Goths and city of Ephesus play a small role and focus of the book is further north, at Caspian Gates. I enjoyed the book and was not dissapointed with usual cliffhanger ending, if for no other reason that because it promises a new book in future.I hope that Ballista will face Goths in earnest in one of next books and not just Persians.
Posted by aktarian on
Just finished "Caspian Gates". While it is a good book the sinopsis is a bit of false advertising since Goths and city of Ephesus play a small role and focus of the book is further north, at Caspian Gates. I enjoyed the book and was not dissapointed with usual cliffhanger ending, if for no other reason that because it promises a new book in future.I hope that Ballista will face Goths in earnest in one of next books and not just Persians
I have just finished "The Caspian Gates" WOW! How do you follow that? But please do!
Posted by Mikeyboy2 on
Hi! Just finished reading the sample from WoR4 and it is VERY, VERY promising. Looking forward to read the whole book! Still have to wait a few days to receive it, so the sample was a lifesaver!!Greetings from Hungary!
Posted by Sabi on
I'm sorry for next reply but I also wanted to submit a heartfelt greetings from Gdansk! :)
Posted by emperor123 on
thank you very much for reading, by far the best novel that I read, on par with "Quo Vadis"! :)
Harry, A great series that are enjoyable to read time and time again. I echo earlier calls for a prequal to find out what happened before Balista became a hostage, although I have a feeling you might address this in the next book....what with there being a war with the "Nothern Goths/Barbarians" either way, I look forward to more work coming from you. :)
Posted by Dan on
I’m an Italian reader,After to have now admired “Fire to east” I am reading “Warrior of Rome: part II”. you allows me to make with respect to the story a clarification: Aulo Valerio Festa while speaks to vicarius Ballista say this phrase: “it is easier that a camel passes for the eye of a needle that a rich entry in the reign of skies.”The phrase is brought back in the Gospels of Matteo 19, 24 and Luca 18, 25 and does not seem to have much sense, as a matter of fact it seems to be an error of translation from the Greek to the Latin to make from Saint Gerolamo. The Greek word for camel is " kamelos" , while " kamilos" is “Hawser “.The correct phrase would be " It is easier that a hawser for the eye of a needle… ". Being the book to set in the 256 d.c and being Saint gerolamo born in the 347d.c. Aulo Valerio Festo could not have pronounced these words….
Posted by drugantibus on
An engrossing trilogy of novels (thus far), well written and very detailed. Characters are interesting and draw you in. I wish I had Harry's intellect and skill.
Posted by magnusmaximus on
Harry, I purchased all three novels, read the first and I am looking forward to the others. I enjoy the time period and the placement of Ballista in the exotic East. Thanks for responding to my inquiry on the cover art. Best Bill NY USA
Posted by Bill McVey on
Ave Harry ! i am half way through the second book and am captivated, not really a good reader of books but you've got me hooked ! well done and keep em coming !
Posted by mac mcgrath on
Bought all 3 books 11 days ago and finished the third book yesterday... I really enjoyed all 3 of them, but don't know which I like best.
Posted by Frank on
I didn't expect much when I picked up the first in the Warrior of Rome series two weeks ago. The fact that I have almost finished all three books since then is a testament to how bloody fantastic Harry Sidebottom is! So good in fact that I'm worried about finishing the third novel as my bus journey's will feel hollow and pointless and I'll have nothing to look forward too.
So thank you Harry for two weeks of reading bliss, but shame on you for only having written three novels so far!
Posted by apamallard on
Just started reading Fire In The East really enjoying got the other books in series cant wait to read them. It has giving me a interest in reading other historical fiction.
Posted by dodsworthboy on
I also loved the books. I agree with another comment that a prequel would be fascinating. My only caveat: corn in Antioch? In America only maize is corn. Do you use this interchangeably with any grain? Confusing. Certainly corn as we know it was not in the old world at this time.
Posted by MissusR on
Read all three Warrior Of Rome books, finishing Part 3 last summer, fantastic, so whats happening with the 4th Part, will it be finished for this summer? Cant wait!
Posted by Jim Lannie on
Thanks Harry, I've recently found my appetite for reading again and have just finished Lion of the Sun, a fantastic series in which im very much looking forward to the fourth book.
Can i ask doo you have any other series planned for the future after Ballista's adventures are over??
Posted by jason-starkey on
There is a mention of eucalyptus trees at one point in the march of the Roman Field Army, Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia and probably made their first appearance in the Middle East after the First World War during which the Australian Light Horse was stationed in the area. Interestingly, the ALH probably conducted the last cavalry charge of "modern" warfare.
Posted by Ian States on
Thoroughly enjoyed the first book and about to start the second. However, a pedantic, (or maybe mistaken?) aside:Dux Ripae translates as Commander/Leader/Duke of the Riverbank - not Riverbanks. Ripae can only be: Gen. Sing, Dat Sing., Nom. Plur or Voc. Plur. When I learnt Latin in the late 50's my translation for "Lord of the Riverbanks" would have been "Dux Riparum". From H's use of the title I think the Romans probably used it in the singular, hence a better translation would be "River Bank Commander".Sorry for the pedantry, but it niggled during the first book and is doing the same in the second.
Posted by El Garpazo on
I'm a casual reader. I read to wind down and relax. Fire in the east got me excited. I found myself thinking of the characters, the plot and where the action would go, during the working day, looking forward to getting home to pick -up from where i left the story. I've never had this feeling from a book before.The second book i found dissapointing. Too many cliche'd characters and a plot that didn't feel as though much thought had gone into the story. Just hope the third book reaches the very high standard of the first
Posted by ss on
What a great book! And what a great series, entertainment and education, perfect way to spend a summer weekend. I eagerly do look forward to seeing why Zenobia scowled and whispered in that final sentence of Lion in the Sun. For readers who enjoy well researched historical fiction with edge, I recommend Deborah Challinor (PhD) whose work is set in 19c New Zealand. Thank you, Harry!
Posted by awekotuku on
Fantastic read, couldn't put the book down and now waiting for the next book in the series! Did a little research to when the next book was due to be published and found the following:Harry SidebottomThe next thrilling instalment in the bestselling Warrior of Rome seriesAD262 – the Roman Imperium is in turmoil after the struggle for the throne. Furthermore, Ephesus, Asia's metropolis, lies in ruins, shattered by a mighty earthquake. Its citizens live in fear as the mob overwhelms the city, baying for blood to avenge the gods who have punished them. Yet an even greater threat to the Empire advances from the North. The barbaric Goth tribes sail towards Ephesus, determined to pillage the city. Only Ballista, Warrior of Rome, knows the ways of the barbarians, and only he can defeat them. The Goths' appetite for brutality and destruction is limitless and before long Ballista is locked into a deadly bloodfeud, with an enemy that has sworn to destroy him – and the imperium – at all costs.Pub Date: July, 2011 Keep up the good work!
Posted by Emily on
I have recently finished the first two books of the series. I can't remember when I last finished reading books so quickly! Exciting and gripping reading. Many thanks Professor Sidebottom, and keep up the good work! Regards from Andrew in South Africa
Posted by Andrew de Groot on
I just read the first two books in the series and I am blown away. I live in the US and am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell and, now, a fan of Harry! I am experiencing great difficulty locating Lion of the Sun ithe states. could anyone help me out here? Thanks!
Posted by Sean34601 on
Loving the series and eagerly await The Caspian Gates. Dr Sidebottom, would you consider a pre-quel to the series. I would love more detail about Ballista and how he came to Rome. I know it is touched on in each novel, but a pre-quel would be a great read ? Thank you, Jennifer B
Posted by JenniferB on
Have read all three books.
Am eagerly awaiting The Caspian Gates.
How long do we have to wait.
Posted by tony sharples on
Hi, i love the books, i can't wait for the next. I would like some help please, as im writing a book myself, and would like to know how to get motivated. I would also like to know how to get published once i have finished, as im scared that ill just get turned aside.
Posted by Chris Rodway on
I have just finished Lion of the Sun - brilliant! All 3 books were gripping and fascinating reads. I am at a loss now. When is the next one coming out?
Posted by Richards on
Lion of the sun what can I say...excellent. Love the use of Latin and have never goggled so much, they lead you more and more into understanding 3rd Cent
Posted by N_CARSON on
Still haven't read the third book, i'm waiting for the translation of the book into my native language. Hoping that it will be better then the first two. keep working and writting, wonderfull story, I want more. Absolutly amazing
Posted by Seth on
Once again the summer has flown over far too quickly in the company of Ballista et al. Just finished Lion of the Sun. Another gripping installment of this period of history. Is that it for him or is he going to get to grips with more purple tinged robes?
Posted by matthews987 on
Have read all 3 books and have got immersed in the world of 3rd century Rome. Really enjoy the Latin terms, which explain so much and improves one's knowledge. Love your historical research behind the characters. Can't wait until you write "The Caspian Gates" as I will be at a loss without Ballista! When will this book be out?
M H Burges.
Posted by M H Burges on
I've just finished Lion of the Sun - well done again. Couldn't stop reading until the final page was done. Can't wait for the next book. Yours is one of my favorite Roman military fiction series... Tanks for the thrill!
Posted by Alex1901 on
Great books, absolutely loved them both and can't wait for the next instalment.
Posted by dwoodley on
Hi Harry. I have just finished reading Lion of The Sun and I absolutely loved it.I have thouroughly enjoyed the whole series and cant wait to see what you come up with next. Looking forward to the next installment already.
Posted by Pat Mathers on
I have just begun to read Lion of the Sun and, as the first two novels, I just can't put it down. I hope there is still more to come from the pen of Dr Harry Sidebottom.
Posted by Andries on
Really enjoyed all 3 books, including Lion of the Sun. Looking forward to what happens next - no pressure - but WHEN?!!
Posted by JudyP on
oh no, finished Lion of the Sun, brilliant read, now what to do until the next book??
Posted by hel-fire on
Harry - Thoroughly enjoyed first two and latest arrived yesterday so I'd better crack on as my father is waiting to read it too! Trust all's well with you and yours. Simon
Posted by simon hopes on
I just finished Lion of the Sun last night. I couldn't put it down. This has been an excellent series and I look forward to more. Will "Cilician Gates" continue with Ballista or will Zenobia's rebellion (some years after the end of Lion of the Sun) and Aurelian come to the fore?
Posted by artorius1040 on
i have just finished lion of the sun just like the first two books i was gripped from the start.is there any news on up coming novels ?
Posted by legioncato on
I have just finished Lion of the Sun - another fantastic book, will there be more?
Posted by deno_123 on
I have read the first two books in the series so far and am absolutely gripped - I will be picking up a copy Lion of the Sun very soon and can't wait to read it!
Posted by ClaireP on
I have just finished Lion of the Sun - well done Harry, it's the best yet. More from where that came from please! Look forward to the next instalment.
Posted by DaveB on