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In the enthralling third volume of Empire, Anthony Riches takes the legions deep into north Britannia, where the survivors of the rebellion still hope for revenge.
'A master of the genre' The Times
The Romans have vanquished the rebel alliance, leaving Calgus, Lord of the Northern Tribes, the prisoner of the chieftains he once led.
But the new Roman leader will not let them rest. He forms an audacious plan to capture Dinpaladyr, the Selgovaes' fortress of spears, and return it to the hands of a trusted ally.
Marcus Aquila - burning for revenge on an enemy army that has killed one of his best friends - is part of the select group of infantry chosen to go north with the Petriana cavalry and take the fort before the rebel army can reach it. He believes his disguise as Centurion Corvus of the 2nd Tungrians is still holding.
But he is just a few days ahead of two of the emperor's agents, sent from Rome to kill him. Pitiless assassins who know his real name, and too much about his friends.
Riches (Arrows of Fury) wastes no time in plunging the reader into second-century Roman politics and explicit warfare. The third in his Empire series opens with political assassins on the trail of Marcus Aquila, who's fighting as a centurion under the name of Corvus with an auxiliary legion stationed in northern Britannia during a rebellion by barbarian tribes that are hampered by internecine quarrels. Constantly alternating viewpoints almost overwhelm as Riches wrestles with the large cast established for the series and the multipronged offensive of the legionaries, hopping between a cavalry unit chasing barbarians, soldiers marching to retake a captured fortress, Aquila's ruthless pursuers, and sparring tribal leaders. But ultimately, all threads are neatly tied together in the climactic confrontation of tribesmen and legions. As a craftsman, Riches mostly sticks to the familiar: prose is either brutal, purple, or hyperbolic. But laden with raucous profanity and voluminous gore (severed heads, spilled intestines, and methodical torture), this action-packed military adventure combined with a well-researched depiction of the organizational details of the Roman legions will fascinate fans of the era.