Rome, AD 68. Nero has committed suicide. One hundred years of imperial rule by the descendants of Julius Caesar has ended, and chaos rules. His successor, Galba, dismisses the incorruptible Germans of the Imperial Bodyguard for the crime of loyalty to the dead emperor. Ordering them back to their homeland, he releases a Batavi officer from a Roman prison to be their prefect. But Julius Civilis is not the loyal servant of empire that he seems.
Four centurions, two Batavi and two Roman, will be caught up in the intrigues and the battles that follow - as friends, as victims, as leaders and as enemies. Hramn is First Spear of the Bodyguard. Fiercely proud of his men's honour and furious at their disgrace, he leads them back to the Batavi homeland to face an uncertain future. Alcaeus is a centurion with the tribe's cohorts serving Rome on the northern frontier - men whose fighting skills prove crucial as Roman vies with Roman for the throne. A wolf-priest of Hercules, he wields the authority of his god and his own fighting prowess. Marius is a Roman, first spear of the Fifth Legion: a self-made man who hates politics but cannot avoid them in a year of murderous intrigue. Aquillius, former first spear of the Eighth Augustan, like Hramn, is in disgrace for refusing to dishonour his oath of loyalty. But their paths will lead them to opposite sides of an unforgiving war.
And Civilis, Kivilaz to his countrymen, heroic leader, Roman citizen and patriotic Batavi, will change the course of both the empire's destiny and that of the centurions.
©2017 Anthony Riches (P)2016 Hodder Headline Limited
A man with a child in his ears - @ShutterSpin.
This is a book where I think the author has extended his ambition. While the exciting Empire series flowed fairly easily this book attempts to be a more in-depth historical fiction. It's set at a time when the Roman Empire was particularly chaotic and dwells on the fascinating cosmopolitan nature of the legions. The art of being able to subsume so many different nationalities into the Roman military added great strength but also contributed to the plethora of factions within the intrigues of Rome.For a long time the Germanic tribesmen enjoyed a fearsome reputation as some of Rome's fiercest warriors but when they are slighted by a new Emperor the relationship becomes strained.
In "Betrayal" Riches tracks a wider cast of characters from the nobility to the common soldier. There is rich detail and depth to them and some fine, although sometimes possibly over-lengthy dialogue. More than most books I've listened to it does require concentration, there are a lot of lengthy character and place names, mostly in Latin to contend with. Other reviewers have suggested reading the historical note first and if you wish to do that then in the Audible UK version it's the very last chapter (14) and lasts about 20 minutes. While this may help, especially if you are unfamiliar with the period, it does contain significant spoilers to the story . . . then again, as the author points out it is "a big old chunk of history to wrap your head round from cold" so the choice is up to you.
Within the story there is plenty of intrigue, insights into life as a soldier and some very well executed battle scenes though I think the motivational speeches could possibly have been edited a little. The deep research the author has undertaken is obvious and well used.
I don't know where Riches found Mark Noble as a narrator, he's not one I have heard before but he does a fine job with this. He puts a lot into his voicing including a quite throat-rending depiction of the Germanic characters.
In all this felt like it had more depth than the Empire series. As a result it is not quite as easy on the ears though possibly it's ultimately more satisfying. The author promises us that the characters will provide us with plenty of excitement to come and Betrayal builds a great platform for the remainder of the series.
I have very much enjoyed Antony Riches previous books so I looked forward to his latest offering this is however somewhat different in style.
The backdrop to this novel is the year of the four Emperors this took place in the year AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in succession: Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and finally Vespasian. This prompted by the suicide of the emperor Nero in 68 was followed by a brief period of civil war.
This means that to fully cover the topic must have been difficult, especially when it also introduces the revolt of the Batavi which took place in the Roman province of Germania Inferior ( It was an uprising against the Roman Empire started by the Batavi, a small but militarily powerful Germanic tribe that inhabited the delta of the river Rhine; and joined by some neighbouring Germanic tribes,
The writer spends a lot of time outlining the events that took place there being such confusion during the year AD 69 The book as such is short on the action that Antony Riches has treated us to in the past ... that said I did enjoy the book The reader did a very good job narrating a complicated tail and look forward to Mr Riches next book in the hope that he returns to a more action packed offering
Yes he an excellent writer
The action scenes
Next time less explanation and more action please
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