Thursday, December 20, 2007

Rebellion Threatens Roman Empire

Scarrow, Simon (2007) Centurion: Rebellion Threatens the Roman Empire London: Headline Publisher

{review contains spoilers}

Fresh after their involvement with the Jews in the previous book, Roman soldiers Macro and Cato were involved in a brand new military adventure, this time in the kingdom of Palmyra, a desert state between Roman occupied Syria and the Parthian empire. The Roman Emperor wanted Palmyra as a buffer between them and the Parthians. Thus when a civil war erupted in Palmyra with the king besieged in his oasis fortress, the Roman governor of Syria were obligated to send soldiers to help. An advance detachment of the Tenth Legion led by Macro, and auxiliaries Second Illyrian cohort led by Cato, who was acting Prefect, were despatched to help the besieged king while the main army were to follow later.

In true, Scallow style, the story is fast moving with enough details about Roman military life to be interesting. The heavily armoured legionnaires and the lighter armoured auxiliaries were involved with fast marches, being besieged in a fortress and desert warfare against the Parthians. It is interesting to note that the Roman’s technique of phalanx was not so effective against the Parthians who rode horses and were expert archers. The slower moving Romans were like sitting ducks. Apparently this unequal warfare led to the historical military loss of armies of General Crassus and later of Mark Anthony when they fought against the Parthians, many years before the time of this novel. The Roman legions have not learnt from their defeat.

In terms of character development, Cato fell in love with the ambassador’s daughter and was pledged to marry when they return to Rome. Another good book for easy reading on military warfare and fighting men.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous alwyn said...

r u into David Gemmell? real hard-hitting fantasy action...

9:25 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

no, I have not read David Gemmell though I have seen his books around. At this moment,I am into historical military fiction.

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, then it might interest u know that the last trilogy DG was working on before he passed away this year was Troy...the last being "Fall of Kings"...historical-military-fiction...

12:58 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi anon,

Thanks for your recommendation. I may look into that when I finished reading the high pile of books at my bedside. :)

11:48 PM  

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