Romulus and Fabiola are twins, born into slavery, and then later sold; Romulus to gladiator school and Fabiola into prostitution, where she will catch the eye of one of the most powerful men in Rome.
Tarquinius is an Etruscan, a warrior, born enemy of Rome and trained in the forgotten arts of divination. He has a long-foretold destiny that will take him to the ends of the known world.
Brennus is a Gaul whose entire clan was killed in a battle against the Roman army. After being sold as a slave he rises to become one of the most famous and feared gladiators of his day.
In a story that ranges from a Rome riven by corruption, violence, and political enmities to very edges of the empire, The Forgotten Legion is a novel of the most powerful empire in history told from the perspective of the lowest rungs of its society.
While I normally immerse myself in the paranormal world, or women's literature, or romance, every once in a while I do like to browse through a good historical novel. The Forgotten Legion perked my interest because the Mr. is a huge fan of the Roman Legionaires' fighting strategies. And the idea of reading a story from the viewpoint of the plebs and slaves is a big draw for me.
The Forgotten Legion is a long and involved book. At 508 pages (not counting the author's note or the glossary--which I was grateful for!), I took a while to meander my way through the intertwined characters' stories. What I appreciated, if not quite enjoyed, was the description of the lives of those lower on the rungs of Rome's citizens--Ben's descriptions are vivid and real. Now when I hear "when in Rome," I sincerely doubt I'd want to do as the Romans do, especially if I'm not a member of the ruling class!
I didn't quite get why Fabiola's a part of the story, other than the man whose attention she attracts. Romulus, Brennus, and Tarquinius' stories were a lot more interesting and involved. You'll enjoy this read if you're a fan of historical fiction. Check it out.
drey's rating: 3/5 Good
Title: The Forgotten Legion
Author: Ben Kane
Paperback: 508 pages
Publisher: St Martin's Press, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon