Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Viper of the North (Legionary, #2)” as Want to Read:
Viper of the North (Legionary, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Viper of the North

(Legionary #2)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  579 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The Danubian frontier is weaker than ever, and a storm is gathering in the north . . .

Deep winter, 376 AD: Emperor Valens has withdrawn the field armies from Moesia and Thracia to fight in the Persian War. The impoverished limitanei legions left behind to defend the banks of the River Danubius are now all that stand between the war-hungry Goths and heart of the Eastern Ro
Paperback, 1st Edition, 410 pages
Published August 16th 2012 by
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Viper of the North, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Viper of the North

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  579 ratings  ·  34 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Viper of the North (Legionary, #2)
This was another enjoyable, if not particularly challenging, read from the author. Pretty much everything I said in my review of the first book holds true for this one; this is a straightforward historical adventure that could be enjoyed by pretty much anyone over the age of 10. While the plot isn't exactly complex and the villains are hilariously hammy and 2-D (including, disappointingly, Salvian, the ambassador who mentored and befriended the main character and had the potential to be a truly ...more
This was the author's take on the Gothic Volkswanderung [migration of people] into the Eastern Roman Empire late 4th century AD, debacle at Marcianople and the stalemate Battle of Ad Salices [The Willows]: all set within this Roman military action/adventure novel. It was enjoyable, light, fun reading and highly recommended.

The protagonist, Pavo, and his army buddies were engaging. The identity of the chief villain deceived me, as well as the XI Claudia legion. Characterization was good; each of
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it

This is a solid continuation of the "Legionary" series by this talented author.
The author's historical research is very good, and the few inaccuracies are duly acknowledged by him in the "author's notes" at the end of the book.

I also like that the author decided to represent an important but not well-known battle, the one at Ad Salices (battle which is so often forgotten because it is chronologically close to the (in)famous battle of Hadrianople, which used to be considered a pivotal event in t
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
"The Viper has risen once again. Now Roman blood will flow, and it will flow like the Mother River!"

"In these past weeks I have wondered; is your heart entirely black? You taught me many things; good-hearted advice that served me well. But the biggest lesson is one I fear you have not learned yourself. Many of your people will die tomorrow so you can have your revenge, yet you can't see that their blood will be on your hands, can you?"

2nd in the Legionary series, the book tells the story
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Right now, I'm thinking this may well be the best #RomanHistFic I have ever read.
John Salter
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read the prequel to Legionary, the first in the series, a couple years ago after it was recommended to me by Simon Turney (author) and decided to give it a go as he highly recommended it. The late Roman period usually isn't my cup of tea but it is a history novel and it contains Roman soldiers so that was good enough for me.

The Legionary in question in book one and Viper of the North is a young man called Vitellius Pavo who through misfortune was born into slavery but eventually joined the leg
Paul Bennett
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The decision to read Legionary 2 at this particular time was made despite the fact that I am currently in the process of reading many different series including Mr. Doherty’s Strategos, Angus Donald’s Outlaw, Giles Kristian’s Raven, Robert Fabbri’s Vespasian, Ben Kane’s Hannibal and SJA Turney’s Marius Mules & Ottoman Cycle. So as you can see there was a lot of excellent material to choose from. Having decided to go with either Legionary 2 or Strategos 2 next, I sent a tweet to Gordon Doherty as ...more
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really, really enjoyed these Legionary Series. On almost every page, the reader plunges blindly into the scene, never knowing when a Gothic war horn may sound, and all hell break loose. This is what I really loved about this book. Also, the suspense/mystery was very intriguing. I could not put this book down: I picked this book up yesterday and finished it today.
Gordon Doherty has become one of my favorite historical fiction authors. I cannot wait to read the other books that will follow up th
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very excellent retelling of the events that would eventually lead to the downfall of the East Roman Empire.

One minor nitpick though, if this is the last time I read the word plumbatae, it will not be a second too soon :-)
Jason Munson
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Here I am in book two, just completed it and I will say that just like in book one I am greatly satisfied with the book. Please, if you are looking for a military book with an author who has great knowledge on the subject matter in which he writes, you have found the right series. I will add, the author is very open to responding to your questions if you have them. I wrote to him just a short period ago and received a prompt and informative answer which I was greatful for. Hands down, this guy w ...more
Gordon Doherty
Aug 30, 2012 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
The Danubian frontier is weaker than ever, and a storm is gathering in the north . . .

Deep winter, 376 AD: Emperor Valens has withdrawn the field armies from Moesia and Thracia to fight in the Persian War. The impoverished limitanei legions left behind to defend the banks of the River Danubius are now all that stand between the war-hungry Goths and heart of the Eastern Roman Empire.

For Numerius Vitellius Pavo and the men of the XI Claudia, the brief from Emperor Valens is simple: to avoid war wi
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes Roman fiction and Sharpe
This is probably the best Roman fiction I've read. Actually, I think it's the only Roman fiction I've read, but don't let that cloud my glowing opening statement.

This book tells the story of the Viper, a Gothic warrior who is killed long before Chapter 1 even starts. As a shade, he doesn't get much air-time for obvious reasons, which focuses on Pavo and the XI Claudia. However, nobody in this book is as they seem, and it is full of crossing, double-crossing, back-stabbing and shady pasts.

What was interesting about this novel was its historical background - especially about the organisation of the Roman military, the defence of the empire, and the growing threat from the Goths and the Huns.
However, the plot repeatedly stretched my willing suspension of disbelief beyond snapping point on countless occasions - the lucky escape of main characters from overwhelming odds in battle, their failure to be executed when all others were, the incredible ability of the Viper to pop up whereve
John Condliffe
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it

A good read full of action and drama. The plot was a bit transparent and some of the escapes and narrow misses implausible but this is an action adventure. The historical narrative is very impressive and Gordon has woven his story into it very nicely. Some of the dialogue is not quite natural but the this author is improving as he goes along. A must for those who love history and especially Roman History.
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Action packed. A depressing period of Roman history, as we are used to them mainly coming out on top, and this is a fairly inglorious period. The same team as in the first book, this time fighting the Goths, and acting as a backbone of veterans to new recruits. Historical details fascinating and a very enjoyable read.
Ian Mccreedy
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Full of action and amazing plot twists.
Joe Singleton
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading the first book in this series but the second one was even better. Very well written and descriptive
Sep 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-fiction

Great story and I am following the series.
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very entertaining. Looking forward to book 3
Steve Minnick
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
3rd Review - Don’t miss this series is stories

Gordon Doherty is one of the best ancient military writers of today. This series of stories are filled with real identifiable characters and gripping battles and inner eye beautiful scenery. In fact you can easily see the movie in your mind as you read.
Larry E Kelley
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece of action and suspense

Well written and full of action throughout the book. The historical significance along with the flow of the storyline allows for an enjoyable read
John Copeland
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another page turner

This one sped along with tremendous battles, top shelf villains, some interesting history, and a steadily growing main character. The story is only partially told, so I’ll be picking up the next in the series soon.
Peter Cornell
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Better than the first

Better than the first in the series. Great story. We written and researched. This series and the hero, Pavo are starting to grow on me. Excellent read.
Steven E Scott
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding Read!

I gave this a four only because the book did drag a little. I would still highly recommend it to my friends.
Benjamin  Wawn
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite enjoyed this book, made it even better that the major events were based on factual events to the best of the authors ability. Look forwarded to continuing the series.
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book

Spell binding book based on the Eastern Roman Empire. A must read for all history & historical buffs alike. Amazing
Thomas A.
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book by a fantastic writer. Puts the reader in the middle of the action. Page turner.
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
c2012: 376AD, limitanei, impoverished, unite, Pavo. Great read, interesting characters, superb pacing and good plot. This covers a part of Roman history that I was not familiar with which made it even more interesting. There is a nice balance between the de rigeur battle scenes and the development of the story arc. There is also a glossary at the back of the book which I found really useful. This is only the beginning, you dogs. The day will come when the Viper will rise again. On that day, Roma ...more
Dennis Fahey
Finished 81 percent, notcsure why

vol. 2 doesn't have anything more favorable about cit than the first volume. Mediocre at best, many others write about this era, Romans, much better. Find one
Patrick F Kelly
Too Hollywood

Seems historically consistent but main character "waits for the death thrust" just a bit too often. Too many unrealistic "close calls".
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Emperor's Knife (Imperial Assassin #2)
  • Emperor's Axe (Imperial Assassin #3)
  • The Legions of the Mist: A gripping novel of Roman adventure
  • Civil War (Marius' Mules #13)
  • Emperor's Sword (Imperial Assassin #1)
  • The Noise of War (The Sertorius Scrolls #2)
  • The Wolf At Large (The Wolf of Corwick Castle Book 2)
  • The Fall of Britannia (Roman, #1)
  • Traitors of Rome (Eagle #18)
  • Sands of Egypt (Marius' Mules #12)
  • The Wrath of Boudicca (Roman, #3)
  • Lions of Rome (Praetorian #4)
  • The Great Game (Praetorian #1)
  • Watchmen Of Rome (Carbo of Rome #1)
  • The Great Revolt (Marius' Mules, #7)
  • Barbarian Princess (The Centurions #2)
  • Bandits of Rome (Carbo of Rome #2)
  • City of God (Knights Templar #3)
See similar books…
I'm a Scottish writer, addicted to reading and writing historical fiction.

My love of history was first kindled by visits to the misty Roman ruins of Britain and the sun-baked antiquities of Turkey and Greece. My expeditions since have taken me all over the world and back and forth through time (metaphorically, at least), allowing me to write tales of the later Roman Empire, Byzantium, Classical G

Other books in the series

Legionary (8 books)
  • Legionary (Legionary, #1)
  • Land of the sacred Fire (Legionary #3)
  • The Scourge of Thracia (Legionary, #4)
  • Gods & Emperors (Legionary, #5)
  • Empire of Shades (Legionary #6)
  • The Blood Road (Legionary, #7)
  • Dark Eagle (Legionary #8)

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
12 likes · 7 comments