Ranks of Bronze (Earth Legions, #1)
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Ranks of Bronze (Earth Legions #1)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  653 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The guilds of star-travelling merchants had strict rules to prevent their technology from falling into the hands of the natives of planets they were exploiting: military operations had to be carried out with weaponry no more complex than swords and bows. That was no handicap to the merchant princes, who came to Earth for soldiers and returned to the stars with the best the...more
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 31st 2001 by Baen (first published 1986)
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The Aliens Were Looking For a Few Good Fighters, Warriors Who Could Be Brave Without Blasters, and Content With Shields of Bronze ... What They Got Were Romans ... Gaius Vibulenas: From a raw kid, he became an accomplished soldier-and a leader of men. Quartilla: She was everything a man could want-you would never guess she wasn't human. Pompilius Niger: He learned young that the worst dangers a soldier faces come from those who give him his orders. Clodius Afer: A veteran, he didn't ask question

May 05, 2011 Checkman rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Military science fiction fans.
I've always believed that some of David Drake's best works are his novels mixing science fiction and the Roman Empire. Having been a Roman history buff for as long as I can remember one could argue that I'm rather biased. However in my opinion Ranks of Bronze rates up there with another of his Roman novel's, Birds of Prey. I don't read Drake books like I used to. Way back in high school and college (eighties) I read his novels almost religiously. But as I've gotten older I've drifted away from S...more
This is a 3 star book with a bonus star for a fun concept. Ive heard tell this was based on a short story on the same subject, and that makes a lot of sense considering how much fat there is to cut here. Anywho, Romans get abducted by aliens to fight in low tech wars on undeveloped planets to secure trade rights due to space legislation against just firebombing the locals to paste and taking all there things. So a flimsy pretext to have centurions and the like, on some crazy planet somewhere and...more
I love the premise, but the execution is lacking. There isn't really a lot of character development...some is attempted, but the characters themselves feel really hard to connect to, which hampers things. The book would be better if it were 25-50% longer, with almost all the extra time spent in the ship or explaining how the Federation / trading syndicate works. This could patch up the book's two truck-sized plot holes: A) why are these aliens bothering to use legionnaires at all, and why haven'...more
The basic premise is fun. The development of the characters is a little off, but works well enough. The battles described in this book would really lend themselves quite well to tabletop scifi/fantasy mash-up battles using miniatures. It was tough (also perhaps a little unfair) to read this book after just reading the first couple of Harry Turtledove's Videssos Cycle, which has tons of excellent historical detail...which made Drake's work feel a lot lighter, almost pulp-level in its sparseness.
A Roman legion is kidnapped to fight low-tech wars for an alien guild on primitive planets. It's slavery by a different name and the aliens' best-laid plans are only good until the battle starts. This is a novel version of the story by the same name in Foreign Legions, a collection of several stories in the same vein.
The shorter version of this was absolutely superb. The longer version really waters down the basic story, I thought. I'd give a five to it if it was all like the short version.
great character development - the description of the Roman legion and tactics is right on the money - - a very, very good read
I couldn't get through the first chapter. I don't like military books/films so I suspect that's why.
Excellent piece of work. The Romans are quite believable if the aliens are not. Good yarn.
Patricrk patrick
Enslaved Roman legion fighting for aliens. Has an opportunity to revolt and takes it.
Ranks Of Bronze by David Drake (2000)
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David Drake is an American author of science fiction and fantasy literature. A Vietnam War veteran who has worked as a lawyer, he is now one of the major authors of the military science fiction genre.
More about David Drake...
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