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Legionary (Legionary #1)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  720 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
The Roman Empire is crumbling, and a shadow looms in the east...376 AD: the Eastern Roman Empire is alone against the tide of barbarians swelling on her borders. Emperor Valens juggles the paltry border defences to stave off invasion from the Goths north of the Danube. Meanwhile, in Constantinople, a pact between faith and politics spawns a lethal plot that will bring the ...more
Paperback, 390 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by (first published April 16th 2011)
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Oct 26, 2014 Conor rated it really liked it
3.75 Stars

This was an enjoyable historical adventure set in a fascinating and often neglected period. Two interesting main characters were supported by a likeable cast of supporting players that kept the plot moving in between the frequent battle scenes.

In the year 376 AD the once invincible Roman Empire is struggling for its very survival. With hopelessly over-stretched borders and seemingly never ending hordes of barbarians waiting to sweep down upon the empire only the courage and skill of a
Feb 27, 2015 Fortunr rated it it was amazing

This is a real page turner, a thoroughly enjoyable and gripping historical novel describing the struggles of the Eastern Roman Empire during the period of the Emperor Valens (who became co-Augustus together with his brother Valentinian in AD 364, and who then assumed the senior Augustus role in AD 375, over his nephew Gratian in the west, at the death of his brother).

This novel is therefore set in a fascinating period often neglected by many writers of popular historical novels, who tend to foc
Martin Lake
Jun 13, 2012 Martin Lake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is set in the Eastern Roman Empire at a time of grave crisis. It is a marvellous evocation of an empire which has been sadly neglected in the west. I felt transported to the embattled empire, seeing the sights, smelling the stench and hearing the clamour as if I were really there.

The novel drives forward at great pace. It takes the young hero from the fetid and threatening streets of Constantinople to the marches of empire and beyond. The writing is intense and vividly portrays the ha
It often felt like a screenplay for an action movie, lots of stunts and YA characters, dialogue and humor. It may be a good adventure story, but I was expecting something better, given that the author obviously researched the topic (as proven by the excellent historical notes on the period and the imperial Roman army structure).
Laurentiu Lazar
Feb 25, 2013 Laurentiu Lazar rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
What had intrigued me at this book is the backdrop against which is written, the reign of Emperor Valens and his struggle to subdue the imminent threats from the Far East – the boarders are crumbling. For myself, it was a period and place of uncharted territory that longed to be discovered. Newness. Additionally, I have been of late in a dire mood, lost in a monotony which I had to break – Britain, Gaul, Germania… enough! And what better way than changing the milieu a bit, trade Rome for Constan ...more
S.J.A. Turney
May 01, 2012 S.J.A. Turney rated it it was amazing
I have no hesitation in recommending this to lovers of Roman military fiction, and indeed anyone else who enjoys a great tale. The book actually interested me a lot more than I expected, particularly due to the setting. I am a fan of Roman history and have a good grounding in the subject, but mostly in the late Republic and Principate era. This book is set during the dusk of traditional Rome, in the late 4th century, with the Emperor Valens, Comitatensis troops, bishops, Goths, Constantinople an ...more
Gordon Doherty
Apr 11, 2011 Gordon Doherty rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
The Roman Empire is crumbling, and a shadow looms in the east…

376 AD: the Eastern Roman Empire is alone against the tide of barbarians swelling on her borders. Emperor Valens juggles the paltry border defences to stave off invasion from the Goths north of the Danube. Meanwhile, in Constantinople, a pact between faith and politics spawns a lethal plot that will bring the dark and massive hordes from the east crashing down on these struggling borders.

The fates conspire to see Numerius Vitellius Pa
A.J. Armitt
Aug 14, 2011 A.J. Armitt rated it it was amazing
When I first purchased this ebook,I have to confess that I was a little apprehensive.
As a huge fan of Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow and David Gemmell, I was initially doubtful that this little known writer would be able to produce the goods.

I'm pleased to say, I couldn't have been more wrong!

'Legionary' is a fantastic story of heroism and deceit; love and camaraderie. It is well written with lavish detail of both characters and scene setting. It has gory battle scenes and enough cliff-hangers for
Paul Bennett
Jul 22, 2013 Paul Bennett rated it it was amazing
The Roman world in 376 AD is not one in which I have spent a lot of time. In my let’s say ignorance, I have paid most of my attention to the era from Marius to around the time of Vespasian. The Eastern Roman Empire was largely unexplored territory for me. I have since seen the error of my ways thanks in part to Gordon Doherty’s Legionary. This is a story that brings that period to life with all of its glory and its encroaching demise. There is a plot, a very involved one, to supplant the curren ...more
Robin Carter
May 07, 2012 Robin Carter rated it it was amazing
Its not very often that you come across a debut novel this well constructed and written, let alone a self published one.

The plot is well rounded, plenty of cliff hangers and miss directions to keep the reader interested and turning the page.

There are plenty of battle/ fight scenes and they are not the weak gore fests that often flood the self publish world, they are constructed as if the author fought every swing of the sword in practise to make sure he knew it was possible and practical.

There a
Jul 19, 2015 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Legionary by Gordon Doherty Numerius Vitellius Pavo is a slave and a witch’s curse protects him from permanent damage or death at the hands of his owner, a senator of Rome. Set in 376 AD,  Christianity is on the rise and the Roman empire has crumbled a bit at the borders. Pavo finds himself freed only to join the border legions who face near-certain death.
Young Pavo was a likable chap, though a bit boring in a permanently beaten puppy kind of way. I never really grew attached to him, so this boo
John Salter
Oct 11, 2013 John Salter rated it it was amazing
Not being an e-reader 'yet', I took a chance and bought the paperback version of Legionary by Gordon Doherty. I say took a chance because self published books are an unknown quantity especially if you are going to buy a tangible book because they are more expensive than a the run of the mill paperback and in some cases you will pay the same or indeed more than you would for a hardback of an established author. Nevertheless I decided to give Legionary a go because of the subject matter and after ...more
First, the story alone nearly rates itself four stars, I was happy to follow along and cheer for our scrawny underdog of a hero. But there are a few "buts." I admire you for self- publishing, but PLEASE have someone proofread it next time, the typos are numerous and very distracting, plus, the continual (and I mean continual) erroneous use of the word "fug" was a personal affront (I love that word, but it refers to odorous, NOT a foggy head!) And last, the verb tenses, especially on "stood" and ...more
Steven McKay
May 06, 2013 Steven McKay rated it really liked it
I must admit I've been so busy recently that it's taken me a long time to finish this on my Kindle, but that's nothing to do with the quality of the writing - in fact, if it hadn't been a right good read I'd have given up ages ago!
I think, in places, it's obvious this is the author's first book - some of the writing is overdone a little and the sub-plot isn't quite fleshed out enough, but Doherty has an entertaining and engaging writing style - and young Pavo is a great character - so the reader
Douglas H. Arnold
Mar 30, 2017 Douglas H. Arnold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book.

I have always enjoyed historical fiction. I usually prefer books set in Europe starting with the Anglo-Saxons in the British Isles through the early years of the US. Also Italian history. This was my first set in Roman times featuring the army rather than the government and nobility. I learned more about the military. This was full of actions and interesting characters.
Rob Von bock
Feb 15, 2012 Rob Von bock rated it it was amazing
Excellent read. With this not being my normal genre (more of a science fiction/fantasy dude), I wasn’t sure what to expect but a good story is a good story no matter what the genre. Not the side of Rome and the Roman Empire I was overly familiar with either so that was enjoyable in itself but the historical detail that accompanied the story was impressive. It is obvious Gordon has a great deal of background knowledge of the era in question.

Pavo is an excellent, colourful lead, well supported by
Feb 14, 2012 Nick_britten rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It is set in an era that I am not very familiar with as I tend to stick to books set in the Republic or the Princeipate so this was new ground for me. The author brings to life the fear and uncertainty of the late Roman world. As the glory and power of the legions wane they face their toughest test as hoards of barbarian horsemen push at the porous borders. The author also brings to life a great cast of characters.
They start as three different threads that tell their
Stuart Haddon
Jan 25, 2012 Stuart Haddon rated it really liked it
In this fine novel, Gordon Doherty takes us under the skin of the Roman Empire in the 4th century. While the twists and turns of political expediency and skullduggery play out in Constantinople, we follow the trials and tribulations of our scrawny hero, Pavo, as he is drawn, along with his fellow legionaries, into bloody conflict on the Empire's crumbling borders. This is a story filled with action and packed with well-drawn characters. Doherty has clearly done his research thoroughly and we get ...more
Dennis Fahey
Ok, good if you can get free or REALLY cheap.

ive read a ton of books in this genre and this one, and the other two on the series, dont rank up there with the good ones, just the opposite. Plenty of Roman names of articles, people places and things, but after a while they begin to detract from the book. I found the characters one dimensional and the plot not that interesting. (Yawn)
May 06, 2016 Ian rated it liked it
My first Doherty. Not bad, not bad at all. I rip roaring yarn of life as a lowly legionary in the late Roman Empire. Details: killing, sculduggery, intrigue, duplicitous clerics, betrayal, and lots of killing. A tad sad, the decline and fall, but there you have it. I would have preferred myself, more attention to the big picture, the politics behind it all, but the novel looks at the life on the line.
Jeremy Poole
Sep 04, 2012 Jeremy Poole rated it it was amazing
Gordon Doherty has done a great job in creating this great book. The main character Pavo goes from scrape to scrape, but always pulls through. There are some wonderful bit parts as well; perverted senators and backstabbing clergymen all go to make this an excellent read.
If you love Roman history and great action books, this is the one for you.
Michael Turner
Sep 11, 2011 Michael Turner rated it it was amazing
Simply a great read, looking forward to the next book in the series.
Ian Mccreedy
Jun 06, 2013 Ian Mccreedy rated it it was amazing
A great book full of action,drama and revenge.
May 19, 2017 Peter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Having just finished Legionary I found myself thinking how difficult writing a historical novel must be. Not only must your research be extensive but you must also try in immerse yourself in a culture that is alien to you and the task usually defeats most.
Unfortunately I found Legionary to fall into the " defeated" category.
The research was excellent and Mr Doherty's plotting and scene setting were very good, however away from the action scenes the problem of how people acted and s
Charles  van Buren
Mar 24, 2017 Charles van Buren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
light, entertaining fare, March 24, 2017

Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Legionary (Legionary 1) (Kindle Edition)

Legionary is a fast paced, easy to read action adventure novel full of combat and intrigue. There are some jarring notes such as a slave trader who drops his h's. And I doubt that a Roman officer would really say, "‘Keep our cool. We need to understand where he’s coming from,’ Nerva whispered, then added with a tilt of the eyebrows, ‘even if what he really needs is
Gin Hunt
Mar 24, 2017 Gin Hunt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

First I have to confess that never in my life did I think I would enjoy a story about soldiers and fighting yet this book captured me and I couldn't put it down. This story was so good that the first thing I did was look for more by this author. Listen to this-not only are there three more books in this series but each one like the one I just read are stand alone yet made more interesting by some continuing lines. My only problem with these books it's that none are on
May 25, 2017 Jude rated it liked it
I wanted to enjoy this book, and certainly it had a lot of potential...interesting characters and a great slice of history with its own unsolved mystery of the death of the Emperor Valens.

But I gave up about half way. Just too many long descriptions of battles. There is surely a other way to let the reader know that there was another gory battle or skirmish without having to describe it in detail each time?
May 13, 2017 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Roman Empire is threatened by internal foes and hordes of barbarians in the late 4th century.
The Empire is being overrun by Goths and Huns and the XI Claudia is trying to defend the border along the Danube and the Constantinople. This is a tale of bravery, betrayal and power. Brave soldiers, led by Gallus (a centurion), veterans, and new recruits (Pavo and Susa) are betrayed by men who want to destroy the Empire.

This is the first book in a series.

No sex
No violence
Nicole  Corali
I normally like historical fiction, even when there is a lot of war. I just didn't feel like it was a great storyline and the author seems to be obsessed with characters farting.
Brooke Abbott
May 04, 2017 Brooke Abbott rated it really liked it
Excellent story, very exciting and very well written. The characters were engaging and I found myself rooting Pavo on! Well done.
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I'm a Scottish writer, addicted to reading and writing historical fiction.

My love of history was first kindled by the ruins of Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine Wall, and travelling around the ancient world has kept the fire burning brightly ever since. The later Roman Empire and Byzantium hold a particular fascination for me. There is something quite special about the metamorphosis from late antiqu
More about Gordon Doherty...

Other Books in the Series

Legionary (6 books)
  • Legionary: Viper of the North (Legionary, #2)
  • Land of the Sacred Fire (Legionary, #3)
  • Legionary: The Scourge of Thracia (Legionary, #4)
  • Legionary: Gods & Emperors (Legionary, #5)
  • Legionary: Empire of Shades

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