Plot: The book is written from our main characters perspective, Publius Varrus, and as so it begins with his telling us why he is writing this chronicle of events.
Publius is severely wounded near the beginning of the book, and is laid up with his general, who is also wounded, in their own private tent. As they lay there for some weeks and talk and get to know each other very well, and eventually the general is healed and departs, leaving Publius alone for many more weeks; he recovers and is left with a noticeable limp. Following this episode Publius makes his way back to his hometown where his grandfather lived, his deceased grandfather left his forge and home to Publius. There he meets an old friend named Equas, together they clean up the old forge, make a partnership and uncover all the tools Publius’s grandfather left him. Safely hid beneath the forge’s floor, along with a valuable dagger made from skystone; metal smelted from a rock that fell from the sky. Several months after settling in and selling weapons to the Roman legions, Publius is visited by his old general, Caius Britannacus.
Caius learns of the dagger and all the wonderful weapons Publius makes, and asks him to consider going to his own villa, many miles away, to live and forge swords for his small colony he is creating. He believes Rome will fall soon, and is determined to outlast all the chaos by building a self-reliant colony. Publius is far from convinced about his friend’s beliefs, but promises to consider the option. Caius is nearly murdered by the assassins of an old enemy, Claudius Seneca, but thanks to Publius and his friend, lives to see another day. Caius leaves to finish his duty in another country while Publius goes home.
After many weeks and several misadventures, Publius is on the run for his life from none other, than Claudius Seneca, who wants to kill him for breaking his nose and carving a V in his chest. All this is Claudius’s fault, but only Publius and his friend who was with him, know that. Few weeks pass before Publius arrives at Caius’s villa, wishing to live there. Note, Claudius tries to have Publius killed at least three times on his way to the villa. Caius is on duty in Africa but will be home soon, some of his colonists house him until Caius’s sister, Luceiia Britannacus. Who happens to be very beautiful, perceptive, educated and smart..
Positive: I really like the background the author gives us about that period in which Arthur was born; it helps one understand why Arthur does what he does later in life. (Make note, this is a series, so Arthur doesn’t actually come into the picture until the fourth book) The plot was well thought out, and the style of writing is very engaging. The book is very detailed and is always sure to let you see each characters personal interests and character traits. You get to know the characters very well throughout the book, and those following the first.
Negative: In the book there are many sexual comments and references. There are several undesirable comments about women. A few sexual scenes between man and woman, including some between man and his wife. (scenes that should stay between man and wife.)
Being Romans, they tend to swear and call people “whoresons,” and some modern day swear words.
By a moral standard, Publius is not very moral, as he tends to lust after women quite a bit. Though he is very good at what he does for a living, we like that part, he also has a pretty good sense of honor. And I am not saying he is no good, just that he has problems. However we (at least I did) end up liking Caius better, because he is far more moral and thinks things through more often!
Overall: I did enjoy this book, even though I had to skip over several pages some times. Due to sexual scenes.
I would recommend this book to very few, as it is more of an adult historical fiction. Though this book does teach you a lot about the Arthurian legend, and gives you information about the period before Arthur’s birth and about the fall of Rome. Personally, I think if you tore out those bad pages, this series could be offered to a wider range of readers.