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The Noise of War (A Tale of Ancient Rome)

The Sertorius Scrolls, Book 2
Narrated by: Joshua Saxon
Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

The only survivor of a brutal battle, driven by a desperate need to see his family again....

Rome, 107 BC. Quintus Sertorius fought while the enemy slaughtered 90,000 of his brethren in the city’s bloodiest defeat. Battling night terrors and survivor’s guilt, he vows to preserve his beloved Rome and embarks on a covert mission deep into enemy territory. 

Sertorius grows his beard and disguises himself in the garb of a Gaul, all the while his stomach churns with fear of discovery. But in order to gain vital information about the invaders, he must sink deeper into their ranks. As he uncovers the depths of the barbarian’s depravity he alone will have to rise to Rome’s aid. 

Will Sertorius avenge his comrades and reunite with loved ones, or will the next massacre mark the end of the Republic? 

The Noise of War is the second book in the best-selling Sertorius Scrolls historical fiction series. If you like vivid backdrops, the courage of conviction, and a fight for survival, then you’ll love Vincent B. Davis II’s compelling saga.

©2019 Vincent B. Davis Ii (P)2019 Vincent B. Davis II

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Dampness rusts men like swords.

Following directly on from the ending of book one, The Man with Two Names, and the horrifying, almost total destruction of the Roman army, where some 90,000 Roman soldiers were believed to have died, miraculously, Quintus Sertorius wakes to find himself still alive. He has lost one eye, and his brother. Eventually, a battered group of some 27 men are regrouped from the total army and begin the treck back to find Marius and his army.

Set a little over 100 years B.C. and told in the first person from Sertonius' perspective, the book is based on actual events and historical people when Rome began it's expansion and military achievements. Well written, it is atmospheric, conveying the harshness of battle and of existence itself - they were a tough people, then. It is a thrilling read which pulls the reader through the terrors and sadness and leaves that person wanting more. Narration is by Joshua Saxon, whose slightly husky voice perfectly captures the presence of our main protagonist, Sertorius, as he recounts his story in his scrol!s. With excellent pacing, emotion and inflection, this is a fine performance.

I was most fortunate in being freely gifted with a complimentary copy of The Noise of War, by the rights holder, at my request. Thank you so much. Ever a fan of novels set in the historical Roman period, this book covers a slightly less written about era when the Republic still stood and before Rome seemed invincible. Definitely recommended for all who enjoy military engagements from the times when fighting was very close up and personal and all wishing to extend their understanding of the greatness that was the Roman Empire.

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  • sm
  • 12-09-19

Brilliant 2nd instalment!!

This is a brilliant follow up to the 1st book, and enjoyed it immensely. I have read both books in the last week, and look forward to further books in the series to follow. Having read a lot of Roman Historical Fiction I would rate this very highly, and it is made more interesting based on the fact it based on a true persons memoirs.

I was given a free review copy at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Gail N.
  • 31-12-19

Compelling story, wonderful narration

I enjoyed both of the two books (so far) in the series. I hope Mr. Davis continues with the story of Quintus Sertorius since what this brilliant Roman legionary accomplished could easily fill several more volumes. The story is fast paced and gripping. I am not sure why Mr. Davis has changed some of the historical events in his novels. For example, in this one he claims that Sertorius lost his eye during the Battle of Arausio in 104 BC. Several sources state that he lost his eye during the Social War in 89 BC. Also, before becoming a legionary, he had a career as an orator and jurist so the story described in the first book in the series, which describes him as a client of Gnaeus Caepio, seems to be made up entirely by the author. However, the fact that one of the Roman generals who led the Roman forces at the Battle of Arausio was Quintus Servilius Caepio, son of Gnaeus, could be the reason the author made Caepio and Sertorius personal enemies. Caepio refused to cooperate with the other consul in charge of the Roman forces, Gnaeus Mallius Maximus, because he was not of senatorial or elite rank. Maximus was the far better soldier and general. Caepio's arrogance cost the lives of 90,000 Roman soldiers. Caepio was tried in Rome for the loss of the army and was stripped of his Roman citizenship. His fate is not certain but he may have died in exile in Smyrna. The author again makes Sertorius a saint in that he helps Caepio avoid prison.

While I enjoyed the story, I was less keen on the kind of self-effacing humility attributed to Sertorius since it did not really make sense. Also, there is the occasional anachronism in the type of wording used. But overall, I think anyone who enjoys historical fiction will enjoy this book. It has re-kindled my interest in Rome even though my preferred ancient culture is that of Greece.

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  • xenduro
  • 19-09-19

good book on ancient rome wars

good story great narrator good characters compelling plot line great battles and main and supporting characters

i got a free copy of this book but am now going to buy the first vol

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  • Gilbert M. Stack
  • 18-03-20

Makes You Feel As If You Were There

The Noise of War is a very realistic portrayal of a dark time in Roman history when the Germanic Cimbri had just inflicted upon Rome one of the most significant defeats the Republic ever suffered—the loss of 90,000 legionnaires. Davis does an excellent job of portraying the fear this loss generates and the personal scorn that the survivors suffer for the loss. He also succeeds in creating a genuine sense of what makes the barbarians so distinctive.

It takes a long time to get to the battles in this novel and I wish I knew more about the accounts of the actual war because a couple of the “tricks” that are used didn’t feel credible to me. For example, if the legionnaires can stand on a hilltop looking down at barbarians relaxing in the river, you would think the barbarians could see them as well and might start scrambling to arm and armor themselves while Marius makes his speech. The cavalry trick also seemed unlikely to me, but the strange thing about reality is that sometimes it is the most unlikely tricks that win the day. The novel was obviously thoroughly researched, so on balance I tend to credit the author’s portrayal over my skepticism.

And that really is the great strength of this book. This novel is so well researched that it makes you feel like you are walking the streets of Rome 2100 years ago, and that really is an amazing accomplishment.

I received this book free from Audiobook Boom in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-20

Awesome book

I cant stop listening to this book. I recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction.

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  • SF
  • 18-10-19

Narrator Makes It

I enjoyed the story but had it figured out after the first few “scrolls.” In short, good story. Now for the best part- the narrator. I was so completely impressed by the narration, which made the book come alive. The narrator’s voice was engaging and captured all the emotions of the book in a natural way. Exceptional. I look forward to listening to other book narrated by Joshua Saxon.

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  • Paul Vasquez
  • 16-10-19

Very Gritty performance of war in 107 BC.

This ended up being a very realistic story about a Roman who was part of the great Roman slaugter that occurred in 107BC in Gaul. It was said that 90,000 Romans died and the fields were covered in bodies for miles. After the battle, the Roman, who is the main character, has to deal with the whole aftermath. He ends up trying to go under cover to find out information for his home city of Rome. I received this Audio book for free in exchange for an unbiased review. This Audio book with worth a credit! It was the type of story that sucks you in and you cannot get enough. Great Job Mr. Davis!

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  • Melissa and Josh
  • 06-10-19

Loved!

This is the third book that I've read by this author. Overall, while I've enjoyed these stories, this is the second one where I became a little confused with the names of the characters, as in following along with who was doing what. I don't know. I liked this one because it was longer than the two novellas I'd previously listened to, so there was much more going on. At this point, it's easy to tell that a lot of research went into this story; I love research, although I rarely have a reason for it. I'd love to know how much time went into this story in both the research and writing aspects. The descriptions made it very easy to imagine what the characters were experiencing throughout the story. I loved the relationship Quentus had with his horse and the slave (forgot his name). I'd definitely be interested in hearing more from this author.

I feel like I need to come up with more compliments for the narrator Joshua Saxon. The first time I heard his voice I knew he was a keeper. LOL

I received a free audiobook copy from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Rayc
  • 03-10-19

I want to read more

The Noise of War. book 2
A great read/listen. So well written you feel as if you're there with the Tribune. At the battles and in the camp . I want to read book 1 now. although it didn't affect my enjoyment of this book.
Superb narration really makes you feel as if your in the middle of the Roman Empire.
I received a free copy of this audio book at my own request and voluntarily leave this review. .

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  • Al
  • 27-09-19

Top notch historical fiction set in ancient Rome

I received a free copy of the audiobook from the author in return for an honest review. This in no way impacts my opinions.
The City of Kings is the newest novel in the First Earth Saga, in a world Rob J Hayes has been building for a long time. If you haven’t read the author’s work before, have no fear of jumping in here, as the standalone is written in a way that includes characters from previous books, without excluding new readers (although I believe it does add to experience), he’s gotten good at skills like that. Anyway…
The Wildlings are on the verge of regaining their home, eh, the Wilds, from the Blooded who have ruled with an iron fist for too long. One final city stands in their way, the Crucible, home of the Brekovich (probably spelt wrongly) family, the worst of the Blooded. Rose, Black Thorn and company have the fortress in their sights, but have the tall order of getting inside. Not only do they face the army of Crucible, but there are worse things in their way on the outside. Can the Wildling scale the walls and end the Blooded, or will they fall at their last and biggest hurdle.
Worldbuilding
If you like books about the Romans, then this world seem very familiar to you. More importantly, this world will feel very authentic. The Roman camps and city, the posturing of the various leaders (many of whom were real people), and also those of their enemies, both Celt and Germanic. If this is all utterly new to you, you’ll still enjoy the level of detail in a relatively short book.
Score - 4/5
Characters
It’s hard not to root for Quintus Settorius. We meet him just off the tragic battle of book one, and THEN he gets put through the ringer. Rather than throw in the towel, he fights for the one thing he has left to believe in - Rome. Rather than blindly buy into it, he does question how strong this belief is, such as when he meets weak tribunes or visits the slave pits. His own slave, becomes his friend, and their relationship doesn’t seem forced at any time. Even Quintus’ guilt for riding his horse into war seems genuine. While the other characters are likeable (even some of the enemy), Marius is also a force of nature, ruling with an iron fist, but not so harsh as to rule through fear. His soldiers believe in him, and the author paints an almost legendary portrait of the man. If the author missed out on one thing, he never covered how Quintus dealt with fighting the few comrades he made in the Cimbri camp, but a minor quibble.
Score - 4.5/5
Plot
The plot is great, as Quintus’ faith in himself and his country (city) is shaken to the very foundation, but his journey through the book is very much a voyage of rediscovery. This probably sounds cheesy, but I can honestly say I never felt this was the case. While the book is all about Quintus, many of the other characters have their backstory going on that we get to see through the eyes of our hero. It’s well fleshed out, and the book seems like a complete standalone, even though it’s a sequel and leaves room for future expansion.
Score - 4.5/5
Writing
The writing is top-notch, with wonderfully evocative despriptions of people, places and things, together with the skilled world and character building. His eye for small details in the biggest of events, and he paints sympathetic characters throughout, I think a real gem in this experience for me was narrator Joshua Saxon. This is the second JS book I’ve listened to out of the last three (No Sharks in the Med), and he has been stellar, even more so in this book. He captures the essence of Quintus well, from jaded to hopeful, and masters a large cast of characters. If you want to pick a flaw, he uses a variety of British accents, even when Quintus switches to his Gallic cover. This is a small thing though (did we expect it to be written in Latin), and we’ve put up with it for years on TV and in the movies.
Score - 5/5
Personal Enjoyment
The phrase “I couldn’t put it down” doesn’t really work with an audiobook, so let’s go with “I couldn’t turn it off” and worked my through it in a few days, whereas I often take longer with audio than reading. As I said, I love historical fiction, and this is one of my favourite eras, so it's a win-win for me. If you’re a HF fan, check this one out. If you’re not but you want to try, this could be a good jumping off point for you.
Score - 5/5
Verdict
A rollicking adventure through Roman Gaul.
Total Score - 23/25


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  • David
  • 17-09-19

Outstanding work of historical fiction

I received this audiobook free at my request and am leaving this review voluntarily.

The Noise of War is an outstanding piece of historical fiction, artfully blending historical fact within Vincent B. Davis II's narrative. Highly engrossing and entertaining, I was captivated by the story from beginning to end. Joshua Saxon's narration was amazing as well. I hope that there will be more to come in this series!

1 person found this helpful