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Last edited: 19/06/2021
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Anthony Riches
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Empire Wounds Of Honour
paperback
389 pages
Aiming for a cross between the old-fashioned adventures of Rosemary Sutcliffe's classic young adult adventure stories and the grittier approach of Bernard Cornwell's novels, Anthony Riches' Wounds of Honour gets off to a terrible start with an atrociously written opening chapter. It's not so much what happens as how it's described, which reads like a collection of every pulp cliché you thought had been drummed out of service years ago. Thankfully, while the editor must have missed that chapter, the rest of the book is a huge improvement - the writing may not be high literature but it is very decent storytelling that doesn't let clichéd writing make the plot seem even more clichéd than it is too often. And the plot is rather familiar, to put it mildly, with a disgraced young Roman officer sent to the end of the Empire to be executed after his father falls from grace and the Emperor orders his family wiped out. Instead he finds himself hiding out in a hardened regiment stationed along Hadrian's wall, having to - almost - work his way up from the non-commissioned ranks, earn the respect of his untrusting men and survive to clear his name at just the same time as the local natives are getting restless...

7/10
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