Fire in the East: Warrior of Rome: Book 1 by Harry Sidebottom | Audiobook (MP3 on CD) | Barnes & Noble
Fire in the East (Warrior of Rome Series #1)

Fire in the East (Warrior of Rome Series #1)

3.9 33
by Harry Sidebottom, Stefan Rudnicki
     
 

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Already a bestseller in the U.K., Fire in the East is the first gripping installment in an immense grand narrative—the Warrior of Rome series.
A.D. 255: The Roman Imperium is stretched to the breaking point, its authority and might challenged throughout the territories and along every border. One man is sent to marshal the defenses of a lonely city and

Overview

Already a bestseller in the U.K., Fire in the East is the first gripping installment in an immense grand narrative—the Warrior of Rome series.
A.D. 255: The Roman Imperium is stretched to the breaking point, its authority and might challenged throughout the territories and along every border. One man is sent to marshal the defenses of a lonely city and to shore up the crumbling walls of a once indomitable symbol of Roman power, a man whose very name means war, a man called Ballista. So unfolds an epic drama—a story of empire, heroes, treachery, courage, and most of all, of brutal, bloody warfare.

Editorial Reviews

Katherine A. Powers
Riddled with corruption, treachery and eschatological religion, this empire was made for summer reading. Here the pleasure is amplified by the imperial baritone of narrator Stefan Rudnicki.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In this blood and guts tale of ancient warfare, Oxford lecturer Sidebottom introduces readers to Marcus Clodius Bastilla, a third-century warrior who has risen through the ranks of the Roman army to achieve citizenship and the honorific of Dux Ripea. Charged by the emperors Valerian and Gallienus with the responsibility of defending the empire's eastern borders, Bastilla says good-bye to his new wife and sets sail for the East. Once he arrives at the Syrian city of Arete on the banks of the Euphrates, Bastilla organizes his legionaries to defend against the besieging Sassanid Persian army and hold out until reinforcements can arrive. In addition to having his hands full with the invading army, Bastilla must also deal with traitors, saboteurs, assassins and patrician officers who resent obeying the orders of a low-born superior. How the brave and resourceful former barbarian defends himself from forces both within and without the city walls forms the spine of this action-packed and detail-rich narrative. This novel of sharp swords and blunt wit should find an appreciative audience among bloodthirsty battle boys of all ages. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441728081
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2010
Series:
Warrior of Rome Series, #1
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Harry Sidebottom teaches classical history at Oxford, where he is a Fellow of St. Benet’s Hall and a lecturer at Lincoln College. He has an international reputation as a scholar, having published widely on ancient warfare, classical art, and the cultural history of the Roman Empire. Blood and Steel is the second book in a major new series, Throne of the Caesars,
and follows his acclaimed and bestselling series, Warrior of Rome. He divides his time between Oxford and Newmarket in Suffolk, where he lives with his wife and two sons.

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Fire in the East (Warrior of Rome Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
PLBMI More than 1 year ago
I can appreciate a book being historically accurate. Add a little fiction that doesn't stray too far from the truth, and you have gold. But this book, described as being similar to the work of Steven Presfield, is in a word boring. I understand that people talk, that is fine, but when a bookjacket describes adventure and action, and all you get is a protagonist's inner strife, you feel cheated. All the characters did was talk, and talk, and then talk a little more. There is a brief spat on the sea, then more talking. Only toward the end do you get into any real action. If i wanted to read about Rome symposiums, then i would have bought a non-fiction book. Even the cover illustrates a soldier ready for war, yet you see very little.I rarely do not recommend a book to others, but this is one of my least favorite books i have read so far. I am sure the author is much better at writing than myself, but i wish i could get a refund for the ebook version i bought.
PaladinGC More than 1 year ago
I was expecting a fast paced book filled with action. What i got was a book that dragged on for many parts and seemed very disjointed. While the author did a nice job of trying to be as historically accurate as possible, in some instances it made it harder to keep the story flowing. I drudged through it since I had already started reading, but it was very hard to stay focused and keep my attention on it. Now for the worst part, the story just ended - it simply stopped with many questions unanswered. This was very frustrating. I kept looking through the last pages to see if there was something else. Well, 30 pages later, after definitions and glossary, there was another small section which I hoped would answer some questions - it didn't. It was merely another small battle which only served to generate more questions. I quickly searched to see if there was a sequel which would pick up where this one left off but I did not see one. This could have been a great book, however, too much useless detail in some parts, too disjointed and finally a story that just ended without closure makes this a very disappointing read. I would not recommnd this at all.
JCH96 More than 1 year ago
An increadable story of a warior in the world's brutal past. I love reading a fast paced and historically accurate book.
JGolomb More than 1 year ago
Fire in the East is a strong newcomer in the category of Roman Military Historical Fiction. The book is smart, finely detailed, violent and exciting. Author Harry Sidebottom is a published professor of ancient history and he draws very detailed accounts of all aspects of Roman military life in the mid 3rd Century. This is the true victory of what's intended to be a 3-book series titled "Warriors of Rome". Few historical fictions contain the detailed notes, glossary and bibliography that Sidebottom presents in "Fire". He's clearly done his research, and worked his academics into his richly built story. The core of the story is quite simple. A barbarian from the north, Ballista, climbs the ranks of the Roman Military (quite common during the second and third centuries in the Roman Empire), and is assigned to lead the defenses of a key city on the far eastern outskirts of the Empire. He's strong, smart, witty, emotionally tortured, loyal, and blonde. The fictional city is called Arete, nestled on two sides by deep ravines, on another side by the might Euphrates river, and on the fourth by a desert. Roman intellegence reports that the Sassinid Empire is planning a springtime attack on the city. It's Ballista's job to prepare for a siege and lead the defense of this important outpost at the crossroads of the Eastern World. While the details are painted with colorful details and make the story unique, Sidebottom has turned a specific kind of military event into as strong of a character as any of the Roman or Persian good and bad guys alike. The true star of "Fire" is the siege - the machinations of defense and attack. Sidebottom tells of ballistae, hidden pits, spies and city-taking siege towers. etc. The story hums along as Ballista prepares for the siege, many items discussed in great detail, but some held back for a literary surprise. There's no lack of violence. As detailed as Sidebottom is with his descriptions of military life, he's equally as vivid in his depiction of military death. Huge stones take off a man's head while his body still stands. Arrows hit soldiers and Sassanids alike...killing and maiming in any number of ways. It wasn't too gory and added to the effect and realism of the story. Overall, I enjoyed this book. Sidebottom incorporates a theme of betrayal and espionage throughout the story that's uneven and ultimately disjointed and disappointing. This branch of his story is the strongest reason I rate the book with 3 stars instead of 4. I may revise the relative weight of this negative once I'm able to get my hands on the rest of the series, but as a stand alone, the plot gaps leading up to the flat conclusion were awkward enough to knock it down a notch in my mind. A strong historical novel should hit on at least two key qualities - an ability to transport the reader to a foreign place and time; and a strong story that legitimizes (at least in the reader's mind) that history. I think Sidebottom does a nice job in both categories...he's at his best, though, with the history.
LN_Adcox More than 1 year ago
"Fire In The East" presents a unique look at the Roman Empire at its extreme Eastern border in what today is Iran during an era when few literary sources are available. The author reveals glimpses of Roman politics and prejudices. The Roman Commander, Marcus Clodius Ballista, had been a hostage from the North German Angles. He had subsequently been granted Roman citizenship and promoted to high command for his military prowess. He is viewed with scorn and disdain by descendants of Roman patricians. He also finds that he is viewed by the Roman Emperors, Valerian and Gallienus, as expendable as reinforcements he was promised were never intended to be sent. The expectation was simply that he and his meager forces hold off tens of thousands of Sassanid Persians besieging the city of Arete (modeled after Dura-Europos) as long as possible and then die glorious deaths as Roman armies fought elsewhere. We are introduced to the frumentarii, the Emperor's undercover secret police, infantry and siege tactics, and the Sassanid Persians. We also encounter Roman fanaticism with disciplina and Roman love of liberty and the ironies between these two concepts. Roman soldiers, like US troops in the 20th and 21st century, defended liberty wherever they were sent without questioning, at least outwardly, the wisdom or politics behind their assignment. Military discipline reflected by the standard response to an order, "We will do what is ordered, and at ever command we will be ready", allows them to withstand tens of thousands of less disciplined Persian troops. However, the debauchery and drunkenness that was acceptable behavior after an apparent victory combined with treachery and fanaticism doomed the city and nearly all of its inhabitants. It seemed unlikely that anyone as astute as Ballista would post extra sentries on the towers and yet not ensure sufficient troops remained sober and available in the event of an alarm. Ballista also seems to have forgotten the threat represented by the tunnels the Sassanids had dug under the cliffs. Nevertheless, Dr. Sidebottom provides us with an interesting cadre of characters, facets of Roman politics and warfare not normally featured, and well paced action in this opening book of a new series.
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I thought the story historically interesting and the plot overall exciting. How can having 30,000 Persian warrior after the hero not be entertaining? Assuming the following books are up to this level, I will buy all this series.
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The best novel set in the Roman world which I've read since Colleen McCullough's series on the life and times of Julius Caesar. A reader who knows his or her 3rd-century history will not be distracted by the "howlers" with which the historically ignorant regularly pepper their work, and someone who does not know that history will probably find the story complicated and tedious. So read and enjoy, or read and learn about a world quite different from ours but inhabited by people very much like us.
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