Thursday 16 December 2010

Ancient Words...

With a new conservatory roof and doors being fitted yesterday and this morning I hid away in the games room with a space heater, some magazines, a laptop and some good intentions to paint some of the lead mountain, suffice to say I managed to undercoat one figure yesterday! Toady was a bit better with some work on two Dwarf Golems from the Leviathan range and the start of some presents for a 15 year old wargamer who I spend most of my time taxiing around the city of Bristol (mostly to the Cathedral as it is concert season).

Anyhow, despite not having done much painting (but promise to do some soon) I have read a lot of novels as I've spent the last few weeks on trains to and from London, or planes to and from Paris. For the most part I have been in another of my sword and sandal moods and this is still the case as I've just started the classic Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, which I haven't read since school.

First off was Captain of Rome, the second in the Masters of the Seas series by John Stack. Following the career of Atticus, captain of the Aquila, during the Punic Wars, the book is fast paced, full of intrigue, some great naval action (culminating with the Battle of Cape Ecnomus (256 BC). Like its predecessor I really enjoyed the book, ploughing through it at a fair rate of knots (sorry...). I've always had an inkling to try galley warfare but have yet to dip my toe as I can't decide whether to go large fleet or boarding action...

Back almost a century to 333 BC I got around to reading Christian Cameron's Tyrant. This had been sat on the bookshelf for almost a year having been a bargain impulse purchase but not read as for some reason I find books with Alexander the Great boring (strange I know...). Fortunately the story starts with the lead character, Kineas, being dismissed from Alexander's service along with his Greek cavalry, only to take employment in Olbia and end up resisting a Macedonian invasion. For the most part I really enjoyed the book, though Kineas' dream sequences became a little irritating as the book went on. That said I will be buying Tyrant II and III very soon...

Finally I devoured Anthony Riches second Empire book, Arrows of Fury. Following the adventures of Marcus Valerius Aquila, on the run from a vengeful Emperor Commodus, serving in an auxiliary cohort on Hadrian's Wall under the nom de plume of Centurion Corvus, the book deals with the aftermath of the Battle of the Lost Eagle which concluded Wounds of Honour, and the native leader Calgus attempts to free his lands from the Roman invader. Cracking read, I eagerly await the third (and sadly final) volume of the series. Reading the book I decided that 2011 will see me slap some paint on the Warlord Auxilliaries I bought this year and that they will be the 2nd Tungrians complete with a centurion sporting two swords! :-)

Whatever scholars think of the historical accuracy of the likes of Anthony Riches or Simon Scarrow, all I'd say is that prior to reading the novels by both I'd always regarded Roman Britain to be pretty boring post invasion and had not realised what an interesting period it was, so whilst purists may cringe and look down their noses, I am thankful that I discovered them...


  1. I loved CAPTAIN as well and have the same issue - I'm think that I might try a hybrid through squardon scale - 6 to 10 galleys a aside with more detail than one would normally get in fleet actions.

    Now to find the rules...

  2. Oi, what do you mean the third and final volume in the series? I'm planning to write about 20 of them!

    I'm just getting my teeth into book four at the moment...

    Best regards,


  3. @Tony - brilliant news, once I read it my 15 year old son grabbed it (spurning both Scarrow and a new zombie book!)

  4. Just picked up the third volume "Master of Rome"!