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The Tribune

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  342 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
“My name is Lucius Aurelius Valens, and I am a soldier in the service of Rome.”

A young Roman officer with a strong sense of justice and duty thwarts corrupt officials plundering the province of Syria and is marked for death. To save his life, he is sent to command a cavalry regiment stationed in ever-restless Judea. He expects only the thankless task of maintaining the Rom
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 3rd 2003 by Signet
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Community Reviews

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A.L. Phillips
Jun 23, 2013 A.L. Phillips rated it liked it
I won an e-copy of "The Tribune" in a contest, and was delighted to have a chance to read and review it. While historical fiction is not my first-pick genre, I do enjoy it occasionally - especially if the plot is good, the characters are realistic, and the novel is well-written. For the most part, "The Tribune" succeeded on these fronts. Larkin's research and knowledge of the time period (Roman Empire around 20-30 AD) is evident, his characters are driven throughout the book by internally-consis ...more
Julie Davis
Jan 31, 2013 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book about young tribune Lucius Aurelius, a first century Roman whose personal guiding star is honor. Unfortunately for Lucius, few of his superiors have that same value and the ones who do are not very good at guarding their backs against their ambitious counterparts. Weaving his way through greed and corruption while trying to unravel a mystery which constantly has just one more thread to a larger story, Lucius must feel his way to the truth. His family physician, a small ...more
Lance McMurchy
Feb 03, 2014 Lance McMurchy rated it really liked it
This is a good one. Got a bit fragmented half way through. But an interesting greco/roman perspective of Judea, during the early years of Jesus' life. The story is compelling, and well researched. I found myself remembering the different stops i had when I traveled around the Sea of Galilee, and the different distances between the towns in that area. The use of a young Paul was an interesting aside.

Hard to fault; except that Lucius, the main character, is way too nice to be truly Roman. I guess
This book is well-written - far more so than the large majority of books set in Ancient Rome - but there's just not any depth to it. The narrator's voice is clear and interesting. Also, there's sufficient period detail and history in the book to set the scene for the reader, and it doesn't feel too contemporary (unlike the books by Ruth Downie, which basically feel like they could be taking place down the street from me in the 20th century). But for me, the book is superficial at best, and the n ...more
Thomas T.
Apr 10, 2012 Thomas T. rated it it was amazing
Patrick Larkin brings his talent for framing treacherous political situations and desperate tactics to first-century Rome and the Judean occupation. His title character, a Tribune named Lucius Valens, is a man of the old honor who must thread this way through the complex knot of greed and corruption woven by the Emperor Tiberius and his political henchmen. Valens tries to complete the task assigned to him by noble Germanicus, while his only allies are a corps of loyal Gallic cavalry and the fami ...more
Verity Brown
Apr 17, 2014 Verity Brown rated it liked it

Have you ever read a book that was really good...and then you got to the ending and said, "AAAARGH!!! NO!!!" This was that kind of book.

For the most part, The Tribune is a Roman military mystery novel. When an important senator on a secret mission to Judea turns up dead, it's up to the protagonist--a young Roman cavalry commander, Lucius Aurelius Valens--to solve the murder before the other Roman authorities in the area exact random vengeance on the nearby Galilean peasants. The mystery itself i
Jun 28, 2014 Ben rated it liked it
Recommended to Ben by: Those who like religious fiction
The TRIBUNE is easy to enjoy historical fiction, not to heavy on the history and pleasantly smooth on the is the beginning of a sword and sandal series set in Biblical Judea. Most of the important historical figures of the time are to be found in the story. Apparently, further installments will cover all the events of the Gospels, rather like Ben Hur, but told from Messala's viewpoint rather than Judah Ben-Hur. This is not a religious / fiction/ historical novel, per se, but I think t ...more
Feb 24, 2014 Belva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is unquestionably the best book I've read in some time. It is fast-paced and action packed, so it kept my interest throughout. It appears that Patrick Larkin did considerable research into the times and cultures of those he portrays so aptly within the pages of this. With corruption rampant in many of those in positions of authority, it was heartening to read the account of Lucius Aurelius Valens, a young Roman officer steeped in honor and bound by duty. He finds himself embroiled in the af ...more
May 05, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it

I like this author and this book. It is set after the birth of Christ but before his crucifixion. The author alludes to several Biblical characters and a miracle or two, but the book is not 'preachy.' The author's writing mechanics are excellent. The main character, Lucius, is a soldier of great importance to Rome and all the lands that are under Roman rule. Lucius travels from Rome to the Holy Land in carrying out his assignment from the powers that be, but he is a cowboy. Somehow, he
Jul 10, 2013 Marquina rated it it was amazing
Best Historical Fiction I've read in a long time. Fantastic book. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who is interested in learning about Rome. The ending has an interesting twist. I want to start the next novel immediately.
Terry Erle Erle
May 08, 2016 Terry Erle Erle rated it it was amazing
A highly satisfying read.
One would expect nothing less than a highly satisfying read from an author of Larkin's caliber and he does not disappoint. The pace is steady and even the minor characters have depth.
What sets this book apart from the usual Roman era soldier fare is the premise. We have all heard the story of how Pontius Pilate washed his hands of any decision about the crucifixion of Jesus, but what was the Roman response to the rising popularity of this unlikely rebel? Larkin takes u
Amanda McCrina
Jul 17, 2013 Amanda McCrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rome
Surprisingly good. The writing is solid, if not spectacular; the characters are likable; the plot is fast-paced and exciting, if rather predictable in places for those who know the source material--more on that below. Fine attention is paid to historical detail--though The Tribune, like many other modern novels on ancient Rome, portrays its Roman characters with comfortably modern religious sensibilities. (Ursula Le Guin's Lavinia continues to be the best fictional treatment of Roman religious ...more
Aug 25, 2014 liirogue rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this right up until the end. The characters are interesting and created well. The edges of the Roman empire are brought to life in fascinating detail. Larkin did a good job with creating a character that I feel is fairly historically accurate as far as his beliefs, morals, and world view, yet a modern reader can still identify with him. The last few pages just seemed completely out of the blue and destroyed in some ways this character that I had come to really like.
Sep 04, 2015 Veronica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book

I have been a Roman Empire geek for a long time starting with Colleen McCullough's series. This book is just as good and probably better since it includes the most important person who lived when Rome ruled the world. From the time 12 year old Paul of Tarsus makes his appearance, I was hooked. Then along comes a shepherd with a lost lamb and finally a young carpenter named Yeshua. Plot twists lead to a superb ending. Where is Book 2? I'm jumping right into it next.
Diana Shaffner
Mar 29, 2014 Diana Shaffner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This historical novel with the main character being a roman soldier has it's setting in a region that would later be known as the holy land. Lucius Aurelius Valens is an honest courageous young man who discovers unspeakable corruption within the government he serves. Even his own supervisor proves to be complicit in the massacre of many innocent individuals all in the name of gaining more power. Central to the storyline are not only Lucius' adventures and battles but also a highly spiritual expe ...more
Feb 22, 2015 Anna rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I enjoyed the mystery and twists throughout the story. I am also grateful that I just recently read "I am Livia" to better understand the history and high-ranking leaders of Rome during that time. The ending was completely unexpected for me, taking the story on a different theme and path. I would be interested to see how the story line in the next book is written.
C A Hedge
Jul 23, 2016 C A Hedge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent story line e. Not at all like every other mystery. Whole new narrative. Kept me going to next chapter. Looking for book two. Can not wait for book two. Will read the whole series .

Can not wait to read next one. Will definitely read entire series. Excellent story line . Very interesting time frame.
Apr 08, 2016 Don rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding out of the box historical story

Who would have thought the tiny village of Nazareth was nearly demolished before Jesus began his ministry. An excellent story well researched and well told.
Don Clifford
Jul 11, 2014 Sam rated it liked it
I had downloaded this book a long time ago, and started reading it without reviewing the summary, so I was surprised with the religious tie-ins to this book. But I enjoyed it and liked the character.
Apr 03, 2016 Melissa rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed his book. The author did a great job of winding a tale both familiar and unfamiliar. I definitely want to read the rest of he series.
Well written with a good storyline. Germanicus doesn't attract much in the way of historical novels, but makes an interesting background figure.
Didn't get the link with Lucius until the end.
Ron Nurmi
story of a Roman officer solving the death of a Roman Senator in Judea, veered to biblical story of Christ before his ministry
Sep 13, 2013 Jan rated it it was ok
I picked this book out for free from Amazon Prime Library mostly as research for a long short story I set in the same historical period. One of the two main characters in my story is a Roman commander in Anatolia, and the titular character of The Tribune is a Roman commander in Syria who gets transferred to Judea. I thought I might glean some details of or at least a feeling for everyday life as a Roman soldier of the period in the provinces. I enjoyed the depiction of Roman military life as wel ...more
Aug 05, 2013 Zoe rated it liked it
Shelves: bought-on-kindle
Good when it's not clumsily and way-too-obviously trying to bring the Bible into the story. I caught on when there was a Jewish guy named Saul/"Paulus" and Antioch involved, but Yeshua the carpenter being the only peasant named? Hmm... What could he possibly be getting at?? The soldiering and story of the narrator are interesting, it's just annoying as the author hits you over the head with one Bible reference after another and they get more badly done as the story goes on.
Expect modernization o
Robert Jones
Jun 10, 2013 Robert Jones rated it really liked it
I read this a couple of months ago and thought it was a really good book. Mr Larkin obviously knows his stuff and has a great eye for detail. Not a word is wasted; the writing is tight, neat and descriptive. My one niggle is that there was a perfect opportunity for a good sex scene between Lucius and Lady Marah and the whole thing was glossed over if though the author found the idea of his characters having sex just to embarrassing for words. It was a glaring ommission and for that reason it is ...more
Feb 27, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing
Great read! Looking forward to the second book in the series.
Nov 21, 2009 Denise rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Good read about a Roman tribune during the time of Emperor Tiberius until about 1/3 way into the book. The main character is sent to Judea (around the sea of Galilee) and becomes involved with a tiny village called Nazara and a young carpenter living there with his mother, Miriam. Hmmm...ok, where is this plot going? The plot got wilder when he spends the night at the estate of a young widow named Marah of Magdala who, by the way, sleeps with him that night. Again...hmmmm. Not a bad book for a q ...more
Clay Davis
Nov 17, 2015 Clay Davis rated it it was amazing
I thought that the Apostle Luke was a doctor.
Ralph Halse
May 01, 2014 Ralph Halse rated it liked it
This novel was worth the money, it provided a great read with many historical introductions along the journey.
Laurentiu Lazar
Oct 14, 2013 Laurentiu Lazar rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I bought it as a freebie from amazon this summer and my belief is that the book is worthwhile, especially if you are addicted to Historical Fiction or the Roman period.

The writing isn't bad, but I often felt that the author didn't dwell enough on the events, as well as on the overall descriptions in terms of religion or politics. It felt way too rushed or ended way too abruptly.

Waiting for book number two.
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Historical Fiction: The Tribune 1 5 Apr 14, 2013 03:12PM  
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When I was nine years old, I caught the writing bug. My fourth-grade teacher read one of my stories to the whole class—something I found both embarrassing and exhilarating, all in the same moment.I doubt that story would qualify as great literature, but it was pretty darned exciting for a bunch of kids caught inside on a rainy day, full of archers and knights, ambushes, and thundering cavalry char ...more
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