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The Emperor's Knives

(Empire #7)

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  632 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The seventh novel in Anthony Riches' acclaimed Empire sequence brings Marcus Aquila back to Rome, hunting the men who destroyed his family.

But the revenge he craves may cost him and those around him dearly.

The young centurion's urge to exact his own brutal justice upon the shadowy cabal of assassins who butchered his family means that he must face them on their own ground,
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 13th 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Average rating 4.39  · 
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There should be some sort of drinking game, the sort of thing I’m sure Anthony Riches would approve of, based on all the eyebrow raising going on in his books, Especially ‘The Emperor's Knives.' You take a drink every time a character raises his eyebrows (I say ‘his,’ because the affliction does seem to be limited to the male characters in the books. Not that there are many female characters here or in any of the books so far. Offhand, I can think of four. Marcus’s wife, the other wife who used ...more
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although I class myself as a fan of Riches' previous books, I was a little sceptical just how much I would like this book for reasons I'll outline first before I divulge my feelings on this book.

I'm someone who greatly prefers his historical fiction to be based around real historical events, preferably with set-piece battles, bloody intrigue and real figures from history; something you can go research afterwards. Aside from romance saturated novels, the kind of historical fiction I can't usually
Greg at 2 Book Lovers Reviews
By the time you reach book seven in a series, you should know what to expect. If you didn’t like the previous books, what the hell are you even doing here? With Wounds of Honour, Anthony Riches opened up a whole new world of books for me; one with Roman Legions marching through hordes of blue-nosed barbarians. I have become a huge fan of Riches, as well as a few others in the genre.

For me, The Emperor’s Knives has brought Marcus Aquila’s story full circle. In book one, Marcus fled Rome before
Michael Jecks
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In this, the seventh volume of his series, Tony has brought his young hero, Marcus Aquila, back to Rome itself, to find the men who were responsible for the murder of his family. He has to face them, no matter what the risk to himself. Four men: a senator, a gang boss, a praetorian officer, and finally a gladiator – he must confront and kill them all. No easy task for a man since they are all powerful in Rome. But the legionary won’t give up. Even when he realises he must pitch himself against ...more
originally posted at:

Roman fiction has always been a direction of fiction that I have read with a lot of pleasure. My first introduction was Nick Brown's Agent of Rome series, which is also published by Hodder and Stoughton. Anthony Riches first book in the Empire series, Wounds of Honour, was published back in 2009. Last February saw the release of the release of his seventh book in the Empire series, The Emperor's Knives. I very much wanted to read this
Fantastic addition to this wonderful series - and an important one, too, marking a turning point for Marcus Aquila. Packed to the hilt with action and twists, too. I thoroughly enjoyed the portrait of Rome and will now never see the Colosseum in quite the same way. Great stuff!

S.J.A. Turney
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What can I say by book 7?

If you’re a fan of the Roman era and you read books, then if you haven’t started the Empire series by now, I can only assume you’ve been living in a darkened closet hiding from the CIA and living on pizza pushed under the door. Riches has solidly secured himself a place among the giants of Historical Fiction, vying with the likes of Ben Kane, Douglas Jackson and Manda Scott in terms of style, plot, character and readability.

If you are that pale frightened figure in the
Nick Brett
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a slight diversion from the previous books, but it needed to be. This very engaging series has always been about Marcus, a young man on the run from mad emperor Commodus and ‘hiding’ amongst the troops on Hadrian’s Wall. The books then developed the character of Marcus and as readers we became attached to the Tungrian troops he was fighting with. So cue some very entertaining books about the action both Marcus and his colleagues get involved with and the occasional ‘will his past catch ...more
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Ah, gladiators. If you did a word association game with Rome, that's got to be amongst the first things our survey would say isn't it? So, after arriving in Rome at the end of the previous book, it wasn't a massive surprise to find that the arena was going to form a large part of the novel was it? This is the point where I give authors a huge amount of liberty - let's face it, there's a pretty much a deal with the reader that's 'listen, I know this series has tries to have a level of realism ...more
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In Book 7 of Anthony Riches' Empire series of novels, the hero, Marcus Tribulus Corvus, formerly Marcus Valerius Aquila, finally gets the opportunity to return to Rome and take revenge on Praetorian Prefect Tigidius Perennis and his cadre of assassins who slaughtered Marcus' family to confiscate their wealth. But, the four men, referred to as "The Emperor's Knives," present quite a challenge to Marcus and his officer comrades, who have sworn to help him. One is a serving Praetorian officer. ...more
Nov 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
I didn't like how characters seemed to be explaining the plotting and things that had been happening a lot in this book, rather than things unraveling more naturally.
Also, a lot of eye rolling moments in this book. A bunch of bad guys died while our scooby gang can all have a laugh at the end over some watered wine. Save the damsel slave, Dubnus. Be the most skilled (but ever noble) fighters in the whole empire with no equals, challenges or real threats, heroes. You don't need a layer of fat as
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The latest instalment in Anthony Riches' Empire series is The Emperor's Knives. After a stint in Dacia and a short stay in Britannia, this outing takes Marcus and friends to the Eternal City, the Capital of the World, Rome itself. All of our favourite Tungrians are along for the ride and in Rome we meet some old acquaintances in the form of Senator Decimus Clodius Albinus, who we last saw in Dacia while still a legatus, and Tiberius Varius Excingus, someone Marcus last saw before his stay in ...more
Heath Knight
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
more politically minded than previously, but enjoyable once you get your thinking cap on
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Having survived their brush with the Emperor Commodus, the Tungrian Cohort take up residence in Rome awaiting their orders. For Centurion Corvus this is the opportunity he has been waiting for. Determined to avenge the killing of his family he must go up against the dark forces of the Imperial Palace.

This fearsome and shadowy group has Rome gripped by fear, used by the Imperial palace as assassins and revenue collectors, they make whole families disappear and ensure that their property ends up
Robin Carter
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing

When i first picked up Wounds of Honour in 2009 i had no idea i would be starting a journey of so much danger, excitement and action. Also when starting with a debut writer i had no idea i would be enjoying these books more and more every year, watching the skill of the writer grow and the depth of the plot increase with every tome.

Book 7 the Emperors Knives goes so much further than its predecessors, it truly is a book crammed with Machiavellian schemes, plots within plots, as our group
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, fiction
Here in the seventh story of Marcus, we are used to his invincibility and so have to wonder if there is any drama that Riches can provide that leaves us in doubt in the characters invulnerability. One of the major characters has died in this series, but only one. That perhaps is something we should see more of. That more of the key men die, or that Marcus is so wounded in his fights that it becomes touch and go.

Here we finally resolve the murders of the main characters family. Often gorily, and
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
c2014: FWFTB: Rome, revenge, senator, gladiator, family. This is the book that most followers of Corvus have probably been waiting for. As normal, it is well plotted, fast-paced and gripping. Lovely historical tidbits thrown in along the way and the always difficult emotional side of the story was deftly handled. In closing the book, I think that I enjoyed this one more than the previous one in the series and the additional short story of Cotta was indeed a bit of a bonus. Definitely recommended ...more
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
After six outings of Marcus Valerius Aquila it is hard to find more praise for a series that just gets better with each new outing. In the Emperor`s Knives we have all the ingredients from the past six,great action,violence,intrigue,humour,great characters and a story that is fast-paced and gripping,that had me page turning well into the early hours of the morning.For me Anthony Riches is now starting to find his stride,as Emperor`s Knives is the best so far of a really excellent series that is ...more
Debra Hayward
Jan 29, 2016 rated it liked it
What is it about Marcus that makes him inspire such loyalty in the men around him? I just don't get it. I see how the troops in his century would respect him, and so might his fellow officers; but enough to risk their lives and that of their families? I'm sorry, he is just not charismatic enough.
I enjoyed the romp around Rome, and it was a gentler book than the others in the series, or at least the body count is lower. Not the strongest book in the Empire series in my opinion. But never mind,
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
The series as a whole is well written and as somebody put in - "action packed", but there is repetitive pattern in constructing of story and when some motives are repeated over and over in the expected order, reading is no longer a challenge. Yes, you still want to know how the storyline goes on but nothing surprising will happen. Somebody dies (main villains), the Hero always survives and because of HBO quasi-Roma TV series, even fighting gladiators are no more the WOW idea :(. But I must admit ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good addition to the Emperor series, although parts of the Ludum section I felt bore some resemblance to a Ben Kane novel I have read.

The story in this book continues the tale of Marcus Aquila and his tale of revenge against the people who assassinated his family, while staying 'under the radar' and following his career in the Roman army with the Tungrian cohort.

A good read that continues to develop the characters in introduced in the previous books.
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Although this story was a bit of a departure from the other books in the series, it was excellent as always. And, as always, Mr Riches left just enough of a hint at the end to make sure that I can't wait for the next book.
Jeff Jones
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I found this one slow to get going but it eventually picked up pace and was more like his earlier books which were really good. Hopefully the latest one which I haven't yet bought, will be even better.
Scott Gardner
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: historic
Marcus returns to Rome to avenge his family's murder

The usual sub plots and double dealing in the story , once again , a good read
Andrew Latham
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Haven't finished the book quite yet, but I'm rating it based on the fantastic short-story that's included. Cracking good read!
Robert Mckay
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great conclusion to this series of books.
Patrick Raftery
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: roman
once again its a joy to read an anthony riches book from start to the very end,it just get better and better
Corvus and his friends are back in Rome, and he is all set to take revenge on those who so cruelly destroyed his family.
David Stubbings
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
A really enjoyable book, giving a realistic insight into Roman military life whilst telling an enthralling story
May 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
7 books in and still really enjoying the series - always a good sign.
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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.

Other books in the series

Empire (10 books)
  • Wounds of Honour (Empire, #1)
  • 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)
  • Thunder of the Gods (Empire, #8)
  • Altar of Blood (Empire, #9)
  • The Scorpion's Strike (Empire #10)