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The Caspian Gates: Warrior of Rome: Book 4 Hardcover – April 26, 2012
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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Unlike the other reviews of this book, in my opinion, this is a pretty good book but not as good as the others. I think that is probably because of the story line. In this book, we find Ballista waiting for Gallienus' decision on his fate, because he "assumed the purple" in the last book, albeit for only a few days as a result of killing a usurper to Gallienus. While Ballista is waiting, he experiences an earthquake in Ephesus and the attack of Gothic pirates who he keeps from sacking one city and one town.
Gallienus' decision is to send Ballista to the Caspian Gates, at the edge of the known Roman world, which is the key pass through the Caucasian mountains (between current ex-Russian province of Georgia and Turkey). He is sent there to strengthen the gates from Alani incursions and also to get support from the client kingdoms from the Sassanid King of Kings. At least this is the formal reason. Of course, a main reason for this is to send Ballista into exile where he can't harm the emperor and where he can do some good.
Although the same characters are there: Ballista, Maximus and group and it is of the same period. However, the story doesn't have the same urgency to it. I didn't find myself reading it quickly in order to see what happens next. The story seemed to drag. Again, as I mentioned above, this is probably because of the story line which doesn't have as much imperial intrigue or action as the previous stories.
In spite of that, unlike the other reviews, I do recommend this book, because like the other books in this series, Warrior of Rome, the characters are well developed, and the description of Rome and its environment in the third century are well developed. This author knows the history of Rome and does a good job of translating it to a readable story. If you like Roman history of course, these books will be more enjoyable to you and as I mentioned above, read the previous three books to this series first.
If this is your cup of tea, you certainly will not be disappointed.
Can't wait for the next in the series!
I read it in 4 days.
I could not put it down.
You can almost feel the thrill of being there with the main people in the book.
My only disappointment was that it ended, now I am waiting for the next in the series.
Amber road follows this and it is as good if not better.
The love interest, as it were, is well realized as a daughter in a dynastic family where women literally use witchcraft (and poison), but also as a surprisingly modern romantic lead who thoroughly enjoys sex and actively influencing her man, the battles and who gets to rule. And she makes a surprising Medea - okay, no kids were murdered in manufacturing this classical reference - even as Ballista the relatively faithful husband plays Jason.
Ballista widowed this lady love when a catapult spear missed the Persian king and dismembered the royal husband. He expects a very lingering death when a Persian prince captures Ballista (a raid almost bagged the king of kings in bed, a shattering defeat did bag the k of k tent, with a raped concubine a weak lesser insult to dousing a sacred fire). But you may recall Balista freeing a prince? His brother wants to make nice with his brother, or maybe score a few points on both Dad and bro in the "nobler than thou" event. So Ballista rides with Persian cavalry, and it works like the Song of Roland, because the almost risible nobility makes sense as written.
Good letters, with betraying Medea as realized as the noble, male enemies who count coup by keeping faith with the bitterest noble enemy.