Wounds of Honour (Empire, #1)
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Wounds of Honour (Empire #1)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  880 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Marcus Valerius Aquila has scarcely landed in Britannia when he has to run for his life - condemned to dishonorable death by power-crazed Emperor Commodus. The plan is to take a new name, serve in an obscure regiment on Hadrian's Wall and lie low until he can hope for justice. Then a rebel army sweeps down from the wastes north of the Wall, and Marcus has to prove he's har...more
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published 2009 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Wounds of Honour is a shining example of this really fun sub-genre of historical fiction referred to as sword and sandals. What is sword and sandals? Basically, any historical fiction novel that is really about epic battles between armies with a plot to position said armies and set the stage can be called sword and sandals.

Marcus Valerius Aquila has just barely delivered the message he was sent with to Britannia when he learns that he has been sentenced to a dishonourable death by the corrupt Em...more
David Sven
I think me and this book have gotten off to a bad start. 20% in and I'm shelving it...for now - which is a shame because I think it sounds like a fast and fun read if I could just get over my issues. I think I have to be in the right mood.

My main issue is with the authenticity of dialogue and action. I like my historical fiction to exhibit a certain degree of realism that makes me believe that this really could be or could have been the time and place the story is set in. It doesn't have to be p...more
Make no mistake this is no melodramatic Roman saga, this is stonecold hard meat.
This book is the epitome of blood, sweat and no tears when it comes to Roman period historical fiction. At the same time it doesn't resort to the angle often adopted by authors trying to set themselves apart from the usual 'epic' style Roman novels, namely gratuitously large amounts of gore and bloodletting to hide the threadbare plot. While this novel undeniably has it's share of bloodletting, it feels a lot more c...more
Ben Kane
I have a confession to make. I bought this book when it came out, 3 years ago. To my shame, I didn't read it until last summer. What a mistake that was! Anyway, I took it on holiday with me. I read half of it in the airport and on the plane. By bedtime, it was two-thirds. I finished it the next morning over coffee. To me, that's the sign of a damn fine read.

I should also point out that the topic of the book - a real life rebellion in and around Hadrian's Wall in AD 181, was the topic of my first...more
Romans and Britain. I seem to be reading quite a few books with this theme lately. This one is pretty close to my favorite of the lot.

While I did have to suspend belief a couple times and roll my eyes every time Marcus told someone else his 'secret', I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the writing and the story.

The battles were epic, whether they were small or large. The all important (at least to me) supporting cast was stellar and story kept me turning pages so fast I finished this book in...more
Andy McNab meets the Second Century AD only with twice the cumstains and a cock jockey or two.
Yes. You read right. It is what I said. Cumstains and cock jockeys. An example of two words that appeared in the book and that I feel should not have appeared in the book. If it surprised you to see them here in my review, imagine how I felt to find them in the Second Century AD. And yet they help me make my point, because it is from within those cumstains and cock jockeys that springs my compatibility...more
Simon Turney
I've waited until I finished the third book in this series before posting a review of any of them, and for a particular reason. Most of the historical series I've read consist of a new separate story with each book, often defined by a narrator's pause or some such device. Most series are different stories with different themes that build a series.

Wile clearly part of a series, Tony's first three Empire books are different. To me they follow on so closely and seamlessly that the series so far cou...more
Chris F
I enjoyed this book with the story keeping me interested throughout. For most of the book I was thinking 4 stars, but felt the dialogue during the last quarter was a bit weak and let down the well written actions scenes a little. Also the ending was just too neat and tidy. This is the authors first book though and he seems to have gained a wide audience with the books that have followed this one in the series, so well worth continuing with the series as a solid start could get even better.
As I have mentioned previously, I like books about the Roman Empire especially the armies, so when I found this series and read the description, I was hooked:Marcus Valerius Aquila has scarcely landed in Britannia when he has to run for his life - condemned to dishonourable death by power-crazed emperor Commodus. The plan is to take a new name, serve in an obscure regiment on Hadrian's Wall and lie low until he can hope for justice. Then a rebel army sweeps down from the wastes north of the Wall...more
C2009: Marcus Valerius Aquila now has a new follower. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and although there wasn’t anything tremendously unique about the plot or themes, it didn’t matter – it was a great story. To me, it is the mark of a good writer to be able to achieve this and somehow it seemed that the author was not only passionate about this particular part of history but had managed to flesh out personalities from perhaps dry historical ‘facts’. Certainly, the bravery required from warriors o...more
To begin with I think I need to explain where I am coming from when writing this review. This book is not of the highest quality, but it entertains amazingly well. It falls into so many of the pitfalls of not just historical fiction, but fiction as a whole, but still manages to leave you loving it. All the way through I was picking out error after error - not just historically, but writing style and the fact that some things just didn't 'work' - but at the same time I could not stop, I just had...more
Robin Carter
When i first saw this book in the shops i thought GREAT... an new roman author....and I hope its not a hack job with no love of the subject. or too much love and no substance...there are so many out there these days. I'm after authors who can compete with Simon Scarrow, Conn Iggulden etc..

I think within 10 pages i knew i was on to a winner, Anthony Riches has a way with words that yanks the reader straight into the past, but retains the language the reader understands, does not bamboozle them wi...more
I read this last Fall. I kept reading to the end to see the outcome of the story. The book was not badly written, but I personally hated the vulgarisms, profanity, modernisms, and absolute coarseness. Dialogue was terrible. The soldiers, garrison life and 'basic training' sounded like modern GIs transplanted into an ancient Roman setting. Had Mr. Riches been in the military, borrowing from his own experiences? The setting: of Roman auxiliaries--the Tungrians--on Hadrian's Wall was original. I th...more
David Alkek
This is a very graphic and detailed novel set in late Roman Britain. The hero, Marcus Aquila, is hiding under an assumed name because his family has been accused of treason. The historical facts are accurate , except for the patrician wife serving as an army surgeon. The author certainly did his research about Hadrian's Wall. His battle scene are bloody and realistic, although they take up a lot of the book. I would have liked to see more facets of the villain and a more realistic love affair.
Empire is Anthony Riches' first novel and it is unreservedly great. He has constructed a very believable picture of the Roman army, especially the auxilia. The writing is crisp, natural, and effective. I am eagerly awaiting his second novel, continuing the exploits of Marcus Valerius Aquilla.
Jo at Jaffareadstoo
A thoroughly good adventure story set in Roman Britain with realistic battles scenes, and likeable characters. The first in a proposed trilogy, looking forward to the next two books !
May 01, 2010 Wolfgirl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys historical fiction
Really enjoyed this book. If you're remotely into historical fiction give this one a go. Can't wait for the next one in the series!
Stu - (Sequere me in tenebras)
"Even when running to escape the past, you will end up fighting it in the future"

Anthony Riches "Empire - Wounds of Honour" slots in well within Roman fiction. It is certainly reminiscent of Simon Scarrows Eagles series.

Many authors who tackle the Roman's focus upon Britain and the subsequent conquest of what will become the northern reaches of the Roman Empire. Anthony Riches begins his tale some 139 years after the original conquest of the Britain's (which was 43 AD under Emperor Claudius - M...more
Nathan Trachta
A friend got me hooked into Mr. Scarrow’s Cato and Macro series awhile back. Since I caught up with the current publication Nick suggest that I try Mr. Riches Empire: Wounds of Honor.

This is an interesting tale that cut similar to Mr. Scarrow’s (Romans and barbarians in Britain) with a focus on one hero, Marcus Valerius Aquila. As with Mr. Scarrow’s Under the Eagle, Marcus is befriended by an old legionary centurion and taken to an auxilia cohort to hide from Imperial assassins who are trying to...more
This is a real Roman hum-dinger. A magnificent slap in the face, reality check of a Historical Fiction novel. A fresh, no-nonsense, take no prisoners, exciting, testosterone-driven assault on the Historical Fiction senses. It’s one that should be listed at the top under the Wikipedia entry for ‘couldn’t put it down.’ Really good.

According to the dust jacket, Anthony Riches holds a degree in Military Studies and it shows. He knows his stuff, but doesn’t shove it in your face the whole time, like...more
Kenny Taylor
OK it's another Romans in Britain book. And a good one too. Centurion Corvus is an interesting addition to the genre, with outsider status as a fugitive because of his family association giving rise to some good set pieces as he tries to avoid detection. This goes alongside his burgeoning reputation as a military hero - the battle scenes were well written with a sense of scale. It will be interesting to see how this develops.
Abigailann (Abigail)

When it takes me a long time to read a book it either means that the book is fantastic and I'm re-reading passages because I'm so intrigued or interested, or that I'm finding the book hard-going or boring. Unfortunatly this one was the latter.
Not that it didn't have its plus points. I skimmed through the battle scenes, which were graphic and often engrossing. The main character was intriguing and the relationships between characters were complex and interesting.
The problem was that it just wasn'...more
Book one in the Empire series. This book follows a young Roman Patrician and begins early in the reign of Commodus, or as I like to think of him, that psycho ball of crazy nut job son of Marcus Aurelius. Anyway, the young Roman is forced to hide out once Commodus puts a hit out on him and does so by joining the Roman Auxillary troops responsible for manning Hadrian's Wall at the outskirts of the Empire.

This was a really good book as far as showing the Roman tactics and explaining quite a bit ab...more
I bought this when it was a Kindle Daily Deal and took a while to work up the enthusiasm to read it. I was so pleasantly surprised! The writing is excellent and I didn't find anything in the historical setting to complain about as others have. There is a rather gratuitous use of profanity but it was less the frequency of it than what felt like slightly unnatural use - too much concentration on NOT repeating words or phrases - which made it stand out.
As usual with the electronic versions, the ed...more
Thoroughly enjoyed this book - left behind by a guest! I thought the story well-researched and well-balanced as well as just a jolly good yarn.
Volume 2 here I come!
A good rites of passage story, a good 1st novel from this author. Looking forward to more.
I found this a really joyable and thrilling read. I'm sure I will read the rest of this serie.
This book is pretty lame. To say that the characters are one-dimensional is to flatter the author. Their motivations are not only simplistic, but unrealistic as well. The plot holes are numerous, and the prose that of an adolescent. Why did I read it then? I'm a sucker for military historical fiction, and will undoubtedly read the succeeding books in this series.
Patrick Raftery
I have to say it was the cover that made me buy this book and being a fan of simon scarrow books it look like it was made for me. I didn't know wot i was getting into so it was a shock to read how swearing there was but then i saw a drama about modern soldiers and just sounded the same., but back to the book witch i found to be a boys own story , i just lapped it up there was so much going on, it was not a man on the run who hides in the army in northern britain it was that good l got the second...more
Rob Pulling
At first I found it a little hard to get into but by the third or fourth chapter I was hooked.
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Ancient & Med...: JULY 2013 (Group Read 1) Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches 210 109 Aug 14, 2013 12:46AM  
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Anthony Riches began his lifelong interest in war and soldiers when he first heard his father's stories about World War II. This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. He began writing the story that would become Wounds of Honour after a visit to Housesteads in 1996. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.
More about Anthony Riches...
Arrows of Fury (Empire, #2) Fortress of Spears (Empire, #3) The Leopard Sword (Empire, #4) The Wolf's Gold (Empire, #5) The Eagle's Vengeance (Empire, #6)

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“Soldiers of the Ninth Century, I am your new centurion, Marcus Tribulus Corvus. From this moment I formally assume command of this century, and become responsible for every aspect of your well-being, discipline, training and readiness for war.’
He paused, looking to Dubnus, who drew a large breath and spat a stream of his native language at the troops.
‘One fucking smile, cough or fart from any one of you cock jockeys, and I’ll put my pole so far up that man’s shithole that it won’t even scrape onthe floor. This is your new centurion and you will treat him with the appropriate degree of respect if you don’t want to lead short and very fucking interesting lives.’
He turned to Marcus and nodded, indicating that the Roman should continue.
‘I can see from the state of your uniforms that you’ve been neglected, a state of affairs that I intend to address very shortly. I have yet to see your readiness for battle, but I can assure you that you will be combat ready in the shortest possible time. I do not intend to command a century that I would imagine is regarded as the laughing stock of its unit for any longer than I have to.'
Dubnus cast a pitying sneer over the faces in front of him before speaking again, watching their faces lengthen with the understanding of his methods, passed by whispered word of mouth from his previous century.
‘You’re not soldiers, you’re a fucking waste of rations, a disgrace to the Tungrians! You look like shit, you smell like shit and you’re probably about as hard as shit! That will change! I will kick your lazy fucking arses up and down every hill in the country if I have to, but you will be real soldiers. I will make you ready to kill and die for the honour of this century, with spear or sword or your fucking teeth and nails if need be!’
Marcus cast a questioning look at him, half guessing that the chosen man was deviating from his script, but chose not to challenge his subordinate.
‘You’ll have better food, uniforms and equipment, and soon. Your retraining starts tomorrow morning, so prepare yourselves! Life in this century changes now!’
Dubnus smiled broadly, showing his teeth with pleasure.
‘Your hairy white arses are mine from this second. Get ready to grab your ankles.”
“Be true to your words” 2 likes
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