King of Kings

King of Kings AD the specter of treachery hangs ominously over the Roman Empire The sparks of Christian fervor have spread through the empire like wildfire and the imperium is alive with the machinations of da

  • Title: King of Kings
  • Author: Harry Sidebottom
  • ISBN: 9780718153311
  • Page: 183
  • Format: Hardcover
  • AD 256 the specter of treachery hangs ominously over the Roman Empire The sparks of Christian fervor have spread through the empire like wildfire, and the imperium is alive with the machinations of dangerous and powerful men All the while, Sassanid forces press forward relentlessly along the eastern frontier The battle bloodied general Ballista returns to the imperialAD 256 the specter of treachery hangs ominously over the Roman Empire The sparks of Christian fervor have spread through the empire like wildfire, and the imperium is alive with the machinations of dangerous and powerful men All the while, Sassanid forces press forward relentlessly along the eastern frontier The battle bloodied general Ballista returns to the imperial court from the fallen city of Arete only to find that there are those who would rather see him dead than alive Ballista is soon caught in a sinister web of intrigue and religious fanaticismhis courage and loyalty will be put to the ultimate test in the service of Rome and the Emperor The Warrior of Rome is back

    One thought on “King of Kings”

    1. Seamless continuation from volume 1. There were several main adventures; but this book gave us some character development of Ballista--his struggling to be accepted; his sometimes insecurity; his decency and integrity--his statement of and actions showing he is "living by a code", something Calgacus has taught him since boyhood. Of course, his military ability goes without saying. Sometimes his opinion is ignored by the emperor and council. He is first given the mission of fighting Sassanids at [...]

    2. There's a bit of a double-edged sword to Harry Sidebottom's Roman books.They're full of information on the late third century Roman Empire including the various terminology, but sadly at the expense of any depth to the characterisation or immersiveness (Yes, auto-correct I know that's not a real word).The fact that he is an academic writing a story isn't an automatic negative thing, unless it becomes far more of a recitation of facts and statistics than a riveting read.It's only been a couple of [...]

    3. When I’m in the mood for them these books are shaping up to really satiate the brain itch I occasionally get for bloody military-focused historical fiction. They’re a little long and don’t always move at the pace I want them to but I always end up feeling very pleasantly “full" when I finish them. Sidebottom obviously knows his shit front to back, and can write a very solid adventure story with equally likable and hateable characters. This particular period and setting in history was als [...]

    4. Historical fiction at its finestAfter finishing the first part I immediately went over to my local library to get the second volume. I have read the odd number of Roman historical fiction novels (for example this one) but I must admit this one surely is on the top.Marcus Clodius Ballista, our protagonist in the first series, returns to Antioch after the fall of Arete and meets the Eastern Emperor, Valerianus. Instead of becoming a hero, he is merely a nuisance. It dawns upon him that he should h [...]

    5. I recently read the first book in this series, Fire In The East. I'd enjoyed itgood characters, interesting descriptions of ancient Roman siege craft, and set in the later Roman Empire, a period I'd not read much on. At times the author, a Classics professor at Oxford, spent a bit too much time on historical detail, slowing the plot. But a rousing, cliff-hanging ending led me to read this, the second volume in the series. What a treat! With the history far better integrated into the story, which [...]

    6. When reading some reviews for this book, some people complained that it felt too factual - sacrificing enjoyment and pace for little tid-bits of historical data. Personally, I didn't find that to be the case at all. Generally the book wasn't as good as its predecessor, and yes, it was slower and ever so slightly heavier. But, it wasn't as dramaticly bad as some reviewers would have you believe. If you enjoyed the first book in the series, then it's a pretty good bet you'll like this one too. An [...]

    7. Alas, not all is well for Ballista in book two of the Warrior of Rome series. Unfortunately, all is not well for the series either. Ballista, being a perpetual outsider, works far better as an independent warrior than as peripheral general in an imperial campaign. It was a mistake to place him so close to imperial authority. The manipulations and backroom dealing at the center of the Roman state does not make for interesting reading because Ballista can have no part in it. This means the author [...]

    8. I really enjoyed this second book in Sidebottom's Roman series. The political intrigue deepens with each chapter as Balista makes even more enemies at court. The characters around the Emperor are scheming and treacherous and Batista needs to maneuver around each just to stay alive. At times I wanted Balista to just reach out and choke a few of them. I do hope that just desserts are in store for his adversaries in future books. Balista's time in the east is also spent persecuting Christians which [...]

    9. Ballista the bada$$; barbarian bred, but Roman raised, now in disfavor with Valerian, has a new assignment - persecuting the dangerous religious cult, Christianity.  Not a happy situation for him or his familia given that he is a warrior and a battle hardened commander.  An administrative job, given to him under suspicious circumstances, has him requesting and then conniving to be replaced.  Book two of Warrior of Rome adds to the intrigues of the imperial court and sets Ballista on a collisi [...]

    10. King of Kings is the second book in Harry Sidebottom's Warrior of Rome series - and, as with the first book, I just loved it. In the 'Historical Afterword', Mr Sidebottom pays homage to two historical novelists whose work has given him great pleasure: Bernard Cornwell - "What makes Cornwell stand so far above a horde of inferior imitators is the jewel-like level of historical detail that can only come from a genuine knowledge and love of history"; and Alfred Duggan - "One of the great pleasures [...]

    11. I believe I enjoyed this book even more than the first book in the Warrior of Rome series "Fire in the East," as now I have been introduced to all the main characters. Also I really do like the way Harry Sidebottom tells his story with just the right mix of History and Fiction. Harry Sidebottom leaves you with four threads to look forward too in the next book of the series "Lion of the Sun." Who will live? Will there be a new Emperor? Are just a few of the un-answered questions. Lastly this stor [...]

    12. Rich in historical detail and interesting characters like its predecessor and likewise well-written, but one is left with the impression the main character is a little too much at sea in the politics and machinations surrounding him. I trust he will become cannier as the series proceeds. A good read.

    13. I was sorry that I just couldn't get into this book. Perhaps it was just my mood at the time, and the fact that this is not the first of the series, but to my mind it lacks the depth of story and exicitement of Simon Scarrow's 'Eagle' series or Conn Iggleden's 'Emperor' series which were excellent.

    14. Second in the series, this book picks up immediately after the events of the first. Ballista has to report the fall of Arete to the Persians - and face the consequences of failing to hold it. Meanwhile, the elderly emperor Valerian is increasingly reliant on his advisors, but none of them are exactly impartial. They know his reign is likely to be short and are all trying to put themselves in a position to claim the purple. There is also the ongoing conflict caused by the growth of Christianity - [...]

    15. Marginally less gory than the first book in the series, and probably better because of it. Ballista, the German officer in the Roman army, again faces down his numerous enemies with his faithful slave servants Calgacus, Maximus and Demetrius. People die on every single page. The Romans are really savages with a thin veneer of civilisation. They delight in cruelty and torturing the weak. The story line is interesting with lots of fighting. There is some attempt at character development, but Balli [...]

    16. Not as thrilling as the first part of the series, but still a very good book!Well known characters are further developeted and the plot is pretty catchy, but a liitle too much political intrigue for my taste Still i´m looking forward to the next chapter!

    17. I had low expectations on this one, given its dissappointing predecessor, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the series hugely improved.

    18. The first in Harry Sidebottom's Roman series, FIRE IN THE EAST, was a thrilling and impeccably researched siege novel that left me breathless come the end. I was understandably eager to pick up Ballista's adventures in this, the second novel, but I was in for a major disappointmentNG OF KINGS can't hope to equal the success of the first volume. Without a siege-style storyline to focus the action, Sidebottom's narrative is laborious and episodic. The main character, Ballista, is involved in a min [...]

    19. King of Kings is as interesting as the first installment of the series, but also clearly a "middle book". Other than in the first book, Fire in the East, there is no continuous arch of events (at least not at first), but a series of episodes that highlight how the lead character, Ballista, loses imperial favor due to intrigue. While the events weren't as spectacular or spell-binding as the siege of Arete featuring prominently in Fire in the East, I kept reading mostly because by now I am interes [...]

    20. This book certainly looks like a bridge book and thus suffers from lack of theme and direction. It is just going through the motions to tell inconsequential material that could be glossed over in two chapters instead of an entire book. It deals with our Hero, Ballista and the last 4 years of the reign of Valerian. When Valerian, according to this material, was betrayed to the Persians. Our hero the one voice against the traitors that was not listened to.Our hero, Ballista sitting along the sidel [...]

    21. Second book in Sidebottom's "Warrior of Rome" series. Ballista makes good his escape from the fallen city of Arete, but must travel to Antioch to report his "failure" to the emperor Valerian. There, he unwittingly gets involved in court intrigue and is sent to Ephesus to persecute Christians before returning for another confrontation with the Persians.Pretty good followup to "Fire in the East" continues the story of the Roman officer of Germanic origins. Liberally sprinkled with actual historica [...]

    22. Having taken a trawl through some of the reviews on here i am somewhat surprised at certain comments.Ok the book is not an Iggulden, who lets face it is a natural fireside story teller, and he is not a Scarrow, who cuts straight to the action and delivers brilliantly real characters. But why do we want the same, surely we want something different, something new.There seems to be a lot of Jump on the author for being an academic and oh no ding too much history to a historical fiction novel, now i [...]

    23. The second book in this series begins immediately where the first left off. We are thrown straight into a desperate dash across the desert to reach Antioch and tell the (Eastern) Emperor how Arete had fallen to the Sassanids.Though still incredibly well written, this book does tend to sag in the middle as Ballista is sent off on what at first glance seems an unnecessary mission to persecute Christians following a quick battle with the Sassanids. Though short and kind of interesting, it detracts [...]

    24. I was not blown away by the first book and if I hadn't bought this at the same time would probably not bothered with the ongoing tales of Ballista. The author seems to try too hard to prove he is a 'proper' historian so we are given too much detail and this is not balanced out with well paced plots or interesting characterisations. This was true of the first book and the author has not changed his style here. So if you loved the first, more of the same here, if you found the first flawed, well t [...]

    25. Better than the first book. We get to see Ballista with his family which I liked. He still has a great relationship with his slaves. I enjoyed the scenes with them most. We are not stuck behind the walls of a town in this one so we get lots of different places. Like all Roman novels, there is treachery and betrayal. It makes me wonder if there was ever a power that wasn't corrupt. Every roman novel I've read, the emperor always seems weak and puppet like, being lead by lesser men. I have no idea [...]

    26. I may return to this book starting with the first in the series (this is the second) but in comparison with other books about the Roman Empire, military, politics, etc this starts as a long slough of the "heroes" being chased by "non-heroes" with dull sentence after dull sentence after dull sentence. It sent me back to Ben Kane's The Forgotten Legion as a comparison to see whether I was being unfair to Sidebottom. Nope. The Forgotten Legion still grips me from the get-go and is well written. It [...]

    27. “The second in the series, I was not altogether buoyant to purchase this book thou I picked it up and now finished reading it. It's a little better than the first one thou there are many loose ends. Vague tracks that best we could have done without. I flicked thorough those paragraphs and missed nothing. The imagery of 200AD is very much there and the nuances with the actual history then are very vague but again what can one expect out of this fiction. The main character "Ballista" is interest [...]

    28. Number two in the trilogy (?) and a really enjoyable read. Sorry to have finished it, looking forward to ordering the third any time i have a birthday soon.He certainly knows his Roman-period onions, does Harry. He's clearly done the research that will add to the enjoyment for the reader, without getting bogged down in detail and description.It's a good story - there's more trouble in the east - well written and you don't need to have read the first to jump in here.So, if you've got a few days t [...]

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