The Siege

The Siege❄ [EPUB] ✼ The Siege By Nick Brown ➝ – Heartforum.co.uk AD Rome has ruled Syria for than three centuries but now the weakened empire faces a desperate threat Queen Zenobia of Palmyra has turned her Roman trained army against her former masters and the onc AD Rome has ruled Syria for than three centuries but now the weakened empire faces a desperate threat Queen Zenobia of Palmyra has turned her Roman trained army against her former masters and the once invincible legions have been crushed Arabia, Palestine, and Egypt have fallen and now Antioch, Syria s capital, stands exposed A young intelligence agent fresh from officer training, Cassius Corbulo is the only ranking Roman officer left in the line of the Palmyran advance He must take command of the fort of Alauran, the last stronghold still in Roman hands, and hold it until reinforcements arrive What Cassius finds at Alauran would daunt the most seasoned veteran, let alone ayear old with no experience of war A mere scattering of divided and demoralized legionaries remain, backed up by some fractious Syrian auxiliaries and a drunken Praetorian Guardsman With the Palmyrans just days away, Cassius must somehow find the discipline, resourcefulness and courage to organize the garrison, save Alauran and secure Rome s eastern frontier.

Nick was born in Norwich in A keen reader from a young age, he graduated from Enid Blyton to Douglas Hill and JRR Tolkien, and from there to Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton After three years studying in Brighton, he travelled to Nepal where he worked at an orphanage and trekked to Mount Everest After qualifying as a history teacher in , he worked for five years in England before taking up a post at an international school in WarsawNick had completed a few screenplays and a futuristic thriller before being inspired to try historical fiction after reading CJ Sansom s Dissolution Researching the Roman army and life in the third century was a fascinating but time consuming project and the book went through many drafts before arriving at its final form I had always intended Cassius to be a somewhat atypical protagonist and when I came across the research about the Roman secret service , I knew I d found an ideal vocation for my reluctant hero Nick has recently published his first venture into sci fi, the short story ebook Dead Eyes If he s not writing he might be found at the cinema, in a pub or playing footballNick is represented by the David Grossman Literary Agency general dglal Follow Nick on Twitter randomrome or Agent of Rome on Facebook.

Hardcover  ñ The Siege Epub Ä
    Hardcover ñ The Siege Epub Ä exposed A young intelligence agent fresh from officer training, Cassius Corbulo is the only ranking Roman officer left in the line of the Palmyran advance He must take command of the fort of Alauran, the last stronghold still in Roman hands, and hold it until reinforcements arrive What Cassius finds at Alauran would daunt the most seasoned veteran, let alone ayear old with no experience of war A mere scattering of divided and demoralized legionaries remain, backed up by some fractious Syrian auxiliaries and a drunken Praetorian Guardsman With the Palmyrans just days away, Cassius must somehow find the discipline, resourcefulness and courage to organize the garrison, save Alauran and secure Rome s eastern frontier."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 390 pages
  • The Siege
  • Nick Brown
  • English
  • 25 October 2017
  • 1444714856

10 thoughts on “The Siege

  1. Sean Barrs says:

    Cassius Corbulo is a poor warrior he is young and inexperienced As an imperial security service agent, he expected to spend his service years behind a desk organising supplies To the surprise of him, and the reader, he is thrust into the prestigious role of Centurion His task is to organise the defence of Alauran, a stronghold in the Syrian dessert, and rein in its wayward defenders who have been leaderless for too long The problem is he s straight out of officer training and has never foug Cassius Corbulo is a poor warrior he is young and inexperienced As an imperial security service agent, he expected to spend his service years behind a desk organising supplies To the surprise of him, and the reader, he is thrust into the prestigious role of Centurion His task is to organise the defence of Alauran, a stronghold in the Syrian dessert, and rein in its wayward defenders who have been leaderless for too long The problem is he s straight out of officer training and has never fought in real combat, nor has he expected ever to do so Consequently, he has to act the part of an experienced warrior or the men would never follow him Suffice to say, by posing as a centurion, he has some big boots to fill Luckily for him he has one tool at his disposal his intelligence And he needs it too, for the soldiers of the stronghold resent orders from such a young officer To make things worse, a murder occurs in the heart of the stronghold casting suspicion on several characters This coupled with a rather large solider who, half the century fear to go near due to his frequent violent outburst, needs to be persuaded into the ranks On top of that, they have no hope of victory unless the local residents can be recruited into an auxiliary force This results in a monumental set of tasks for Cassius And the enemy, that outnumber them five to one, haven t even arrived yet.The pacing of this book is remarkable The ending is drawn out, leading to a bloody climax of epic proportions The narrative is broken up with chapters from the point of view of the approaching Palmyra forces The Palmyrans are led by a brilliant swordsman named Azaf whom is charged with capturing Alauran from Roman hands This creates suspense through the novel as his forces slowly approach the Roman stronghold As I mentioned in my review for book four in this series, the legions of Rome are a very popular basis for a novel It s refreshing to read a series in which the story does not sequence around Hadrian s Wall or a province in modern day France or Germany This makes the novel stand out in the genre as it focuses on the eastern side for a change this time in the Syrian dessertA hillock of sand fifty feet high, the crest did indeed provide an excellent view of the area surrounding Alauran, particularly the dessert of the east Scattered across its slopes were patches of thorn bush, drained of colour by the summer sun Aside from a few grasshoppers and sand flies there was no other sign of life Further, it s unique to read a military style historical novel, in which the protagonist is not an invincible enemy slaying soldier like figure he is believable He could be injured or killed and the reactions he has to combat are realistic he is regretful for his actions and inadequacies in the face of the enemy It is because of this that this is my personal favourite of the overcrowded Rome novel market This novel doesn t just have well written and developed characters but, also an excellently paced plot.Overall, this is an extremely exciting adventure rich in character growth and blood It is very rare that I ever say this in a review of a book, or think it to be honest, but I cannot find a single fault with this novel, so I think it s time to stop praising it and read the second instalment Below are links to my reviews of the rest of the series Book 2 The Imperial BannerBook 3 The Far ShoreBook 4 The Black Stone

  2. Jane says:

    What stood out for me was the character growth of Cassius Corbulo, the young, sensitive, inexperienced Security man, leading the defense of a small garrison of Romans and Syrians pitted against an overwhelming force of Queen Zenobia s Palmyrans 270 A.D The siege and climactic battle were very exciting and compare favorably with battle scenes in other novels I m very happy the author did not feel compelled to insert love interest, which to me would have been out of place here I m sure as the What stood out for me was the character growth of Cassius Corbulo, the young, sensitive, inexperienced Security man, leading the defense of a small garrison of Romans and Syrians pitted against an overwhelming force of Queen Zenobia s Palmyrans 270 A.D The siege and climactic battle were very exciting and compare favorably with battle scenes in other novels I m very happy the author did not feel compelled to insert love interest, which to me would have been out of place here I m sure as the series progresses, though, Cassius will meet some attractive young ladies.This novel is a keeper and I hope to readof this series

  3. Ozymandias says:

    I got rather excited by the idea of this book when I saw it an action adventure about a secret agent traveling to exotic locations where he faces off against outlandish villains for the benefit of king and country What No, not James Bond It s some Roman called Corbulo Cassius Corbulo.Actually, the book isn t nearly as much Bond in a toga as I had expected Cassius is young and inexperienced and while he is a secret agent frumentarius he mainly operates as a common soldier The Palmyrans a I got rather excited by the idea of this book when I saw it an action adventure about a secret agent traveling to exotic locations where he faces off against outlandish villains for the benefit of king and country What No, not James Bond It s some Roman called Corbulo Cassius Corbulo.Actually, the book isn t nearly as much Bond in a toga as I had expected Cassius is young and inexperienced and while he is a secret agent frumentarius he mainly operates as a common soldier The Palmyrans are coming and he needs to assume control of a fortress since there s literally no one else in the area who can see to its defense As such, the book is farof a knockoff of Harry Sidebottom s Fire in the East the first of the Warrior of Rome books , which also concerned a soldier sent to assume command of a Syrian fortress in that case a whole city and defend it against an Eastern army in that case the Persians Heck, it s even set in the same era, and given that there are a grand total of three other books that I know of set in the mid third century and none of them are military fiction that cannot be a coincidence.This book suffers greatly from that comparison Sidebottom is an excellent writer and also an actual ancient historian, so his book feels very realistic and bloody This book isfantastical, with shallower characters and rather over the top battles I found the cultural observations to be rather thinly drawn as well The Romans never have any real personality The Palmyrans even less so.Like Sidebottom s book, the story suffers from the restrictions of siege warfare Sieges are frankly not all that exciting At least not for the defenders They stand in one place and react to the enemy s plans And since 2 3 of the book concerns the siege you spend an awful lot of time watching characters react to things If there is an example of a siege done right I ve yet to read it, but I suspect it would derive most of its strength from contrasting the tactics of both sides The combat scenes also show the limitations of the author s knowledge The siege soundslike a Fantasy battle than a historical one Sniper bowmen keep soldiers off the walls while many of the key moments involve one on one duels Roman tactics don t really reflect how they fought and the Palmyrans seema faceless horde than an army.The character journey is at least interesting, even if the most interesting bits happen before the siege even begins Cassius never wanted to be a soldier He joined the secret service since it offered him prospects for advancement So when he finds himself posing as a regular centurion and assuming command of a legionary detachment he has to conquer both his subordinates doubts and his own fears Most of the visible signs of this occur, as I said, before the battle begins Once that starts his role diminishes and you forget the whole conflict between being a secret agent and being a soldier This seems as good a place as any to note that I fundamentally disagree with Sidebottom s view of the frumentarii as an organized force of spies and assassins Brown takes that exaggerated portrayal and dials it up to eleven, which wouldn t be so bad if this was just an absurd action adventure but really brings nothing to a low key conflict like this one.I m still interested in the idea of James Bond in a toga Iacobus Adligatio so I may continue with further books in the series, which sound rather less bound to a single location However, as the initial book in a series I thought this was rather a letdown The lead character s development was good, though rather simplistic, but the adventure he was placed in felt limiting and repetitive Supporting characters were distinguished by one or two character traits, but generally proved to be fairly bland If anything in this sounds good to you, check out Sidebottom s book instead The scale is grander a whole city rather than a small fort , the writing is better, characters havedepth, and accuracy is through the roof

  4. Speesh says:

    I am going back in time by reading this one I was lucky enough to be sent the latest as it was at the time The Black Stone, which was actually number four in the series I d seen the name and some of the covers before that, but not got onto reading any But having been solidly impressed by TBS, I m making up for lost time by starting again at the beginning with The Siege And maybe time travel is perhaps not at all a bad metaphor for me to use for this review As Nick Brown certainly has I am going back in time by reading this one I was lucky enough to be sent the latest as it was at the time The Black Stone, which was actually number four in the series I d seen the name and some of the covers before that, but not got onto reading any But having been solidly impressed by TBS, I m making up for lost time by starting again at the beginning with The Siege And maybe time travel is perhaps not at all a bad metaphor for me to use for this review As Nick Brown certainly has a knack for bringing the period, the landscape and the characters to convincingly vivid life We re back in 270 AD, on the eastern edges of the Roman Empire and as with all the best books, the story is a deceptively simple one The main character and of the subsequent novels of course is Cassius Corbulo He is just 19 as the book begins, straight from officer training, he is sent to command the Roman forces who find themselves in the path of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra s rapidly advancing forces And they re not happy Not with the Romans anyway The Roman forces Cassius is sent to command have been lacking a Centurion and discipline and the usual Roman efficiency has suffered accordingly Problem is, Cassius isn t a Centurian yet But he thinks it best not to let his forces in on the secret just yet He faces an uphill struggle to convince the Legionary veterans that they should take orders from a beardless boy, Centurian or not and a lot of the story is about Cassius trying to win them over and prepare them to face the Palmyrians or at least hold on until the Roman reinforcements can arrive to save the day Though, Cassius isn t sure they re coming Another little secret he has to keep from his men What Cassius is, if not an actual Centurion, is a Grain Officer An agent of the Imperial Security Service An independent wing of the military, the Service had been established during the time of the Emperor Domitian Originally concerned with the supply and distribution of grain to the legions, it s officers were spread far and wide across the Empire They seem to be a mixture of spy and Internal Affairs And the Service are disliked by the ordinary soldiers So understandably, Cassius would rather the men under him did not find out too much about THAT little secret either.The Siege of the title, develops rather like the Roman version of The Alamo, if you ve seen the John Wayne film I did, at times, think it read a little like a western The new Sheriff sent to sort out a run down, lawless town, in a lawless area, etc The Wild West Except here, it s the Wild East If you re a Roman, West if you re a , well, you get the picture The soldiers need convincing that running away and hiding isn t their best option, no matter how muchattractive that might seem to be when compared with taking orders from a suspiciously youthful Centurion There are old soaks who ve seen it all before, there are trouble makers, there s a very interesting Praetorian Guard character, who is trying to obliterate his internal pains by staying drunk but who Cassius thinks may hold the key to the fort s forces survival There are good guys who seem like they can be relied on and there are quite probably spies lurking here and there Then, all the time in the background, there s the ever nearing, unavoidable date with destruction, in the shape of the Palmyrians coming inexorably closer Something s got to give and Cassius is determined it isn t going to be the Romans, not on his watch.As the book progresses, so does the character of Cassius He starts out, as we all would no matter how much training we had behind us, scared shitless and decidedly unsure if this was the right career choice He develops slowly, as experience only comes with time in the job not something he has a lot of just now But, you can see he is already on the way to developing the instinct to do the right thing at the right time in the right situation The real key to survival in the Roman army, I d think.As I say, this is the first in the Agent of Rome series It is now five books long and was clearly imagined to be a quite lengthy series Nick I feel I can call him Nick now gets straight down to the business of this book s story and the action rather than spend ages giving scene setting and or background, that we pick up along the way Which is as I like it.So, if you want to be transported back to 3rd century eastern Roman Empire, then I can t think of better place to start or finish, than Nick Brown s Agent of Rome series.More world class reviews on Speesh Reads

  5. Laurentiu Lazar says:

    StoryThe Siegeis set against the backdrop of Emperor Aurelian s reign during the Palmeryan revolt led by Queen Zenobia The main character is a young security service officer named Cassius Corbulo, who by chance gets sent far off into the desert, south east of Antioch, to the fort of Alauran so as to coordinate the defense against a potential invasion force strategically important due to its water source Corbulo s mission seems impossible at first glance having to deal with inward doubts, StoryThe Siegeis set against the backdrop of Emperor Aurelian s reign during the Palmeryan revolt led by Queen Zenobia The main character is a young security service officer named Cassius Corbulo, who by chance gets sent far off into the desert, south east of Antioch, to the fort of Alauran so as to coordinate the defense against a potential invasion force strategically important due to its water source Corbulo s mission seems impossible at first glance having to deal with inward doubts, insecurities in his soldiery and leadership skills a 19 years of age youth, assigned to command battle hardened men it does sound hilarious while at same time he faces the challenges of the new command posting a decaying fort inhabited by a group of unpaid, apathetic legionaries whose only concerns are for filling up their bellies some Syrian auxiliary slingers whose allegiance is unclear and last but not least a Praetorian in a permanent state of drunkenness However, step by step Cassius proves himself as a rather witted individual, good at running the strings, thus overcoming each trial that is set before him Characterwise One of the main traits I look for in a book is related to development of characters, the degree of sympathy these actors bring forth to my status quo and how well they are intertwined with the actual story Fleshed out In this particular case, the author has outdone himself By comparison with other novels, the main character is, in my opinion, peculiar to the bones What intrigued me the most was how humane Cassius appeared to the eye, he had a bit of arrogance given his high birth, but at the same knew when to back off or when to ask for help in a matter Emotionally, he shed tears, trembled blocked in front of danger, took pity for the casualties and even took some courageous stances And on top of that, he is no soldier poor handling of a sword, low stamina Moreover, the situation he is put in first posting, no experience, acting under the cover of Centurion So I am asking you now, does he not seem peculiar given all these facts I cannot remember a historical fiction book in which a main protagonist is so flawed, so humane, so successful overall Luckily for him, he had excelled in the cerebral disciplines during his training years As for secondary characters, I have to mention Simo, the household slave who accompanies our hero from beginning till the end and starts off as a manservant ending up as a doctor for the little fort this one has such an innocent manner of behaving, along with his speech In my own little world, I laughed out loud at the relation between man and servant Funny relationship Interesting to watch closely how Cassius treatment of his slave changes slowly to become acasual one, of friendship though I still felt a tone of superiority.Another evenodd character was the one called the Praetorian I got to admit it kept me on needles to see what his role will be in the story given his background and seeing how he treated himself and everybody else short tempered, aggressive Has a rather big impact on the whole story given his not so many apparitions in the plot, and plays the role of fort s drunkard.Setting It is rather an unusual one, but put into frame with great depictions, vividly described and richly innovative and imaginatively speculative wherever it must be so For example, Alauran, whose existence I initially thought was real, to later find out in the author s notes that it is a figment of his imagination The siege was neatly done, I really liked the whole defensive approach and the camels idea was ingenious Though, I m curious, weren t the horses in that regiontolerant to camelsRead in some other review, about the Palmeryan attack to be unreal I thought about it as well, but it did make sense given their supply shortage and misinformation on actual number of defenders All in all, I profoundly enjoyed the book It has great depictions, somewhat unique characterization and story for a novel set in the Roman world Moreover, it possesses not much gore, minimal verbal violence and lots of poignant moments I appreciate the maps for the region and fort helped my imagination a lot Therefore, in case you considered plunging in, don t hesitate and take a leap of faith Highly recommended

  6. Justin says:

    This review was first published in the Historical Novel Review.270 AD Queen Zenobia of Palmyra has turned on her erstwhile master, Rome She has sent her armies across Arabia, Egypt, and Syria to sweep away the weakened Roman forces Antioch now stands exposed, with only the small garrison at the fort of Alauran standing in her armies path.Cassius Corbulo is new to the Roman ranks He s the privileged son of a noble family, untested, unbloodied, and ill prepared Nevertheless, his rank in the This review was first published in the Historical Novel Review.270 AD Queen Zenobia of Palmyra has turned on her erstwhile master, Rome She has sent her armies across Arabia, Egypt, and Syria to sweep away the weakened Roman forces Antioch now stands exposed, with only the small garrison at the fort of Alauran standing in her armies path.Cassius Corbulo is new to the Roman ranks He s the privileged son of a noble family, untested, unbloodied, and ill prepared Nevertheless, his rank in the secret service agents derisively known as the grain men qualifies him to act as a centurion, and he is sent off with only his Gallic servant to organize the fort s defense and hold off Zenobia s forces untiltroops can be brought forward.Brown has given this Roman military adventure story a great twist in having Cassius hail from the secret service ranks These men, part bureaucrat and part secret police, were answerable to the emperor himself, and were despised by Roman soldiers Muchthan a simple military story, The Siege is also a character study and offers a rare glimpse into 3rd century Rome and her occupation of Syria I enjoyed watching Cassius growth as he met with myriad challenges, and I appreciated that the carnage didn t set in until the last third of the book, though I enjoyed the battle, which was worthy of Scarrow and Sidebottom, even if smaller in scale.The Siege is book one of Brown s new Agent of Rome series, and I look forward to the next installment

  7. Greg at 2 Book Lovers Reviews says:

    Cassias Corbulo is a fresh grain officer who has been dropped into the role of defending a key resource with a rag tag group of soldiers With a much larger contingent of the enemy on the way, he must pull this group together to defend Rome s interests and save his own life.With so many books set in Roman Britain that I have been reading lately , it was nice to get a different picture of the vast Roman Empire Syria is such a completely foreign place Nick Brown did an excellent job of bringing Cassias Corbulo is a fresh grain officer who has been dropped into the role of defending a key resource with a rag tag group of soldiers With a much larger contingent of the enemy on the way, he must pull this group together to defend Rome s interests and save his own life.With so many books set in Roman Britain that I have been reading lately , it was nice to get a different picture of the vast Roman Empire Syria is such a completely foreign place Nick Brown did an excellent job of bringing the country to life and the trials of fighting in such a harsh and unforgiving environment.Cassius is an interesting character He is in over his head he does not have the experience to pull off this task on his own Cassius uses the tools at his disposal to get the job done, ingrained Roman discipline threats and bribery This is what made the Roman world work and last for so long.Nick Brown spent a good amount of time with the enemy This was a great point of view They had their own troubles and problems to overcome The Palmyrans were not the simple barbarians that would attempt to overpower the Roman line with sheer numbers.The only drawback that I had was the wait The story was a bit slow to develop, but once the action started this wasthan made up for.If you are looking for a different view of the might of the Roman Empire and enjoy a flawed protagonist who is not the Roman equivalent of Superman, then I would recommend The Siege I will be looking forfrom The Agent of Rome series 4 Stars

  8. Bart says:

    3,5 stars.I liked the refreshing original setting of the novel the Romans in Syria at the time of the revolt of Queen Zenobia s Palmyrans , the superb characterization especially Cassius Corbulo as a realistic and very human hero, with some very well done character development , and the great first half of the story from the introduction of Cassius till the organisation of the garrisoned troops In the second half of the book came the siege itself with a whole lot of battle scenes and my att 3,5 stars.I liked the refreshing original setting of the novel the Romans in Syria at the time of the revolt of Queen Zenobia s Palmyrans , the superb characterization especially Cassius Corbulo as a realistic and very human hero, with some very well done character development , and the great first half of the story from the introduction of Cassius till the organisation of the garrisoned troops In the second half of the book came the siege itself with a whole lot of battle scenes and my attention wandered somewhat The outcome with the praetorian was also quite predictable.Still a good first book with a lot of potential for the sequels

  9. Edoardo Albert says:

    Having started with number 6 in the Agent of Rome series I ve gone back to the beginning and the first posting for a young and callow Cassius Corbulo Two thirds of the elements that will make this a great series are already there Cassius himself and his slave Simo, ever punctilious for his master yet careful to conserve the small dignity afforded to him as a slave in Imperial Rome What s missing in this first book is the third member of the team, the bodyguard Indavara, who makes his debut in Having started with number 6 in the Agent of Rome series I ve gone back to the beginning and the first posting for a young and callow Cassius Corbulo Two thirds of the elements that will make this a great series are already there Cassius himself and his slave Simo, ever punctilious for his master yet careful to conserve the small dignity afforded to him as a slave in Imperial Rome What s missing in this first book is the third member of the team, the bodyguard Indavara, who makes his debut in the next novel However, even without him, this book serves to introduce an unusual, for historical fiction, hero and his evenunusual slave Cassius is not much good with a sword, relying on his brain rather than muscles, although he does match up with the male wish fulfillment element of historical fiction in that he is unfeasibly handsome and attractive to women Simo is, potentially, an eveninteresting character I hope Brown will lookdeeply into how a slave might attempt dignity when he is, literally, property The story itself rips along As soon as I d finished The Siege I started on The Imperial Banner, the next in the series

  10. Robin Carter says:

    When ever you get a new debut author in a genre its potentially a mixed blessing, could this be a new giant of the genre could he she be a turkey There are the subtle parts of a new writer, like will they be a writer of explosive action, or slow burn deep facts, or a mix of them both With so many authors out there turning out great books it then means its down to the marketing and the cover artists to draw the eye and make you pick up the book and read the back cover.With Siege of Rome the When ever you get a new debut author in a genre its potentially a mixed blessing, could this be a new giant of the genre could he she be a turkey There are the subtle parts of a new writer, like will they be a writer of explosive action, or slow burn deep facts, or a mix of them both With so many authors out there turning out great books it then means its down to the marketing and the cover artists to draw the eye and make you pick up the book and read the back cover.With Siege of Rome the cover is fantastic, giving the reader the impression of action, pace, and history, Some excellent back cover blurb to really rope the reader in, so i was hooked and ready to part with my cashwas it a good idea Yes is the simple answer, the cover is actually slightly deceiving as the book is not just an all out action thriller, it is a well paced well thought out story with a great plot, with a complex multi faceted hero in the guise of Cassius Corbulo, It also good to see a less written about section of the Roman world by going east to the parts that areancient than even Rome, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Palmyra, all names far older than Rome.With this fantastic background Nick brown has woven his great ability as a writer of time and location, blending the history with an ability to take the reader right to the location and when you couple that with his great characterisation, people who are living breathing soldiers, withthan cut and slash on their minds, people who have families and a past, who have fears and problems and unlike a lot of writers Nick lets you know this and lets you meet your hero at his best and worst so you know every facet of his character Making this book so muchthan a swords and sandals gory war story.I highly recommend you part with some cash and buy this book Parm Synopsis from back of book 270 ADRome has ruled Syria for over three centuries But now the weakened empire faces a desperate threat Queen Zenobia of Palmyra has turned her Roman trained army against her former masters and the once invincible legions have been crushed Arabia, Palestine and Egypt have fallen and now Antioch, Syria s capital, stands exposed.Cassius Corbulo is a young intelligence agent fresh from officer training He has been assigned the menial task of rounding up wounded legionaries but then urgent new orders arrive He is the only ranking Roman officer left in the line of the Palmyran advance He must take command of the fort of Alauran, the last stronghold still in Roman hands, and hold it against the enemy until reinforcements arrive.What Cassius finds at Alauran would daunt the most seasoned veteran, let alone a nineteen year old with no experience of war A mere scattering of divided and demoralised legionaries remain, backed up by some fractious Syrian auxiliaries and a drunken Praetorian Guardsman With the Palmyrans just days away, Cassius must somehow find the discipline, resourcefulness and courage to organise the garrison, save Alauran and secure Rome s eastern frontier

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