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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 12 up.
After a poor decision in a German province, Alexios Flavius Aquila is given the dubious honor of a command of the Frontier Wolves, legionnaires at the northern most end of the crumbling Roman Empire. It is hard to win the respect of such wild and rough men and the local tribes, but slowly Alexios manages to become accepted. However, when the new Praopositus arrives to inspect Castellum, everything Alexios has worked hard to build falls apart. When an attack that Alexios had feared begins, with an alienated friend joining the attackers, Alexios must once again make the fateful decision that sent him to the frontier in the first place. Though according to the author's note there were not any Romans in the area where she set Castellum, the story is otherwise very plausible and historically accurate. The early history of Britain is made to come alive through the eyes of the likable Alexios--the brutality and hard decisions, but also the camaraderie and discipline of the legionnaires. This would be a great reading for any history class studying the fall of the Roman Empire. Reviewer: Kathleen Foucart