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Wounds of Honour (Empire #1)

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,536 Ratings  ·  85 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 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 hard eno ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published January 1st 2009)
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Asteropê This is an adult series, though I don't know if it'd be appropriate or not for a YA or MG reader. It's not a YA or MG book, though.
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Wounds of honour was a light, enjoyable read with plenty of exhilarating action scenes. Unfortunately it was also pretty predicable and unremarkable, especially in terms of plot. This was a pretty typical piece of Roman historical fiction focusing on the adventures of a centurion serving in the legions, it did this reasonably well and was a solid example of the genre.

The action scenes in this were frequent, bloody and exciting. Unlike other books I’ve read recently (Steven Erikson’s Malazan Boo
Aug 17, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ben Kane
Mar 21, 2012 Ben Kane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 02, 2016 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
1.5/5. I kept reading to the end to see the outcome of the story. The book was not badly written on the whole, but I personally hated the vulgarisms, profanity, modernisms, and absolute coarseness. Dialogue was terrible. You only have to read the extended quote where Marcus is haranguing his men, to see what I mean. 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 exper ...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
Simon Turney
May 01, 2012 Simon Turney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jul 31, 2013 Jacqui rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
"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
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
Mar 17, 2012 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 09, 2013 Robin Carter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeanne D'arc
Das Cover gesehen und gekauft!
Die Geschichte eines Mannes, der es nicht immer leicht haben wird
Die Geschichte von Marcus Valerius

Eckdaten zum Buch:

Verlag : Penhaligon
ISBN: 9783764531331
Flexibler Einband 448 Seiten
Genre: Historischer Roman
Art: Reihe

Anthony Riches hat einen Abschluss in Militärgeschichte von der Manchester University. Nach dem Studium arbeitete er 25 Jahre für eine Reihe von Großkonzernen in aller Welt, bevor er sich mit Aufträgen in Europa, USA,
Nadine Paque-Wolkow
Die Rezi gibt es auch auf meinem Blog:

Ich bin immer froh und glücklich wenn Verlage bei historischen Romanen auch einmal etwas anderes verlegen, als nur starke Frauen in schwierigen Situationen Schmöker. Deshalb fällt es mir nicht leicht, diese Rezension zu schreiben, denn ich kann für die Ehre der Legion leider nicht so viele Sterne verteilen, wie ich es vielleicht am Anfang gedacht hatte.

Als Freundin millitärischer Histos (ja ich mag es blutig, brutal
Oct 22, 2014 D.w. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
Once again we have the journey of a young man ill-prepared for the trials of life as a legionnaire come of age rather rapidly in this instance. Riches brings us to the time of Emperor Commodus who was rather well manipulated by those who wished power and our hero in this series is caught in the middle of such a power struggle.

That he is rather well prepared, perhaps too well prepared, we keep seeing revealed more and more. Nearly at every turn he saves himself, or is saved by those around him. T
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.
Aug 17, 2015 Flemming rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
while I appriciate a good story about Romans in Britain, this is ruined by the mary-sue that is the main character. Not only is he, at age 19, THE best swordsman with DUAL swords, he can also step into line with legionaries, and he doesnt need a shield, thats how badass he is. Nevermind the fact that this is how the Roman Legions bested the tribes of gaul and britain but no, he is so damn awesome, he can do without, and STILL be a part of the unit. He is also impossible modest, and the only time ...more
May 03, 2010 Burt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 04, 2015 tsukino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-storica
Serie L’impero n. 1

Non sapevo cosa aspettarmi da questo libro. Avevo il timore di trovarlo noioso; non è un genere che di solito leggo. Invece mi è piaciuto, forse ci sono cose un po’ prevedibili e risolte un po’ frettolosamente, ma nel complesso la storia mi ha appassionato (anche se devo ammettere di aver un po’ imbrogliato nelle parti relative alle strategie militari).
All’inizio ho avuto alcune difficoltà dettate, secondo me, dal fatto che non c’è la separazione dei paragrafi all’interno dei
Jo Barton
Mar 31, 2010 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 really liked it
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!
Jul 07, 2015 Nigel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whilst I understand that some people may struggle with the many profanities in this tale of violence, blood and gore, I found them to be justified and appropriate. It certainly wouldn't have bothered me if they had been omitted, but in this instance, they felt legitimate.
Riches writes some of the best battle scenes I've ever come across, painting scenes of incredible clarity and colour.
One of the critcisms I encountered was that of a lack of variety in his characters, which may have been just
Feb 17, 2015 Soho_black rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, used-to-own
Ben Kane recently said that one of his early ideas for a Roman historical novel was about soldiers stationed at Hadrian's Wall. When he was asked if he would ever consider revisiting the idea, he said he still liked the idea, but a number of authors had used it since. One of these is Anthony Riches, whose ''Empire'' series is set on Hadrian's Wall and to judge from ''Wounds of Honour'', it's certainly an idea worth exploring.

Riding to the Northern outpost of the Roman Empire to deliver a message
May 21, 2015 KK rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Riches knows everything there is to know about the Romans, so there was a chance that he'd be tempted to info dump all over the pages of his book. I am glad to say that this was not the case. Wounds Of Honour was as much about the characters and companionship as it was about the technical and historical aspects, and it was full of brutal action, too. A very strong start to what I hope will be a very good series.

I was also very pleased and impressed with the expressiveness and sheer abun
Nathan Trachta
Feb 02, 2012 Nathan Trachta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 07, 2013 Speesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Munaya Al salhee
Apr 14, 2015 Munaya Al salhee rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-finished
Let's just say this book is a "meh" for me. I'd be generous if I give it 1.5/5 stars. I don't say this book is really bad, it's just that I want drawn to the story, 78 pages in and I felt bored about it. Before I started reading it I was interested about it and I felt that I don't want to read it. Even after I read it's review before reading the book it had mixed one for it, so I decided to read it with an open mind. But unfortunately I wasn't drawn in it and now every time I look at it I feel I ...more
Mar 30, 2015 Ceri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable. Enough historical accuracy and information to set the scene without becoming a novel to show off the author's knowledge.
The main characters were easy to like and made you care about their fate. Reminded me very much of westerns with the tough characters with hearts of gold and the young man having been given a raw deal proving himself in the field of conflict.
Jan 26, 2014 Kenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Empire (9 books)
  • 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)
  • The Emperor's Knives (Empire, #7)
  • Thunder of the Gods (Empire, #8)
  • Altar of Blood (Empire, #9)

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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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