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The Invasion of Gaul

(Marius' Mules #1)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,262 ratings  ·  60 reviews
It is 58 BC and the mighty Tenth Legion, camped in Northern Italy, prepare for the arrival of the most notorious general in Roman history: Julius Caesar. Marcus Falerius Fronto, commander of the Tenth is a career soldier and long-time companion of Caesar's. Despite his desire for the simplicity of the military life, he cannot help but be drawn into intrigue and politics as ...more
Paperback, 2nd, 466 pages
Published May 16th 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (first published April 17th 2009)
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Charles  van Buren
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Charles van Buren


4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative
July 15, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Review of Kindle edition
Publication date: November 18, 2010
Publisher: Victrix Books
Language: English

From the title, many may assume that this is a novel concerning the Roman general and reformer Gaius Marius. That is not the case. The title refers only to a common nickname for Roman legionaires applied after Marius' reforms. The commanding general
Pg 275 & we're outta here, will write more on the why's at some stage.

Originally this was heading towards potentially a three as its quite a promising start with all the prominent characters coming to the fore in the defence & battle around Geneva in the opening chapters, good fast start, ok dialogue & the makings of a fine Roman based series to follow, one with a little more depth to it than the adventures of Macro & Cato of Scarrow fame is what I was hoping for...... what a
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommended for one reading, but mediocre [2**] upon rereading. I only read partway through the second time then finally donated the volumes I had in the series to the library. Someone else will enjoy them I'm sure. The whole series may be more to others' tastes.

My original review:
I had put off reading this one because of Caesar as a character; I can't stand the man: unashamed self-promotion in his writings [I had to suffer through his [book:Caesaris Commentarii de Bello
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all historical fiction readers
Recommended to Prue by: YouWriteOn UK lists
This title has been published under the auspices of the phenomenally successful YouWriteOn POD publishing programme in the UK. Ostensibly it is allowing new and untried writers to break into the market place in an otherwise notoriously difficult industry into which an author must battle his way.

I read this book with interest as I have been a failed student of ancient civilisations. This re-kindled my interest and I found that Turney had meticulously researched his background. I was also wary of
Gordon Doherty
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marius' Mules is simply a cracking read.

The main characters are warm and instantly likeable and the camaraderie between Rome's finest is spot on. Even the not-so-good guys are well woven: take Caesar, who comes across as intriguing and devious - just what is he up to? This one of many compelling reasons to keep turning the pages.
The battle and fight scenes show a rich imagination and you can feel the action going on around you through vivid and gory description, some of which still make me
Keith Nixon
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Julius Caesar is a man whose ambition knows no bounds and Marcus Falerius Fronto, commander of the 10th Legion, career soldier and companion of the general for ten years, knows it all too well.

Caesar has assembled an army in northern Italy, his target Gaul, a country Rome has been at peace with for years. But Caesar’s desire for greatness and revenge drives him to engineer a war with the Celtic tribes that inhabit the region, no matter what it costs his men.

The Marius series has been on my
Very good debut abut a Roman career officer who attaches himself to the star of Julius Caesar in Spain and later in Gaul; despite misgivings, Caius Valeirus Fronto becomes Caesar's main fighting legate against the Helvetians and and later Ariovistus

Lots of typos, anachronisms and some careless editing mar the book and it truly could have done with better editing but I enjoyed it a lot and would recommend it to anyone looking for a historical fiction novel about Caesar conquest of Gaul; less
Steven Toby
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Soldiering is the same whatever year it is

The author takes us back to the fading days of the Roman Republic in this bloody action tale. It takes him a chapter or two to really get rolling but he’s clearly mastered the tactics and technology of the period. He can write action scenes that grip you and keep you turning pages.
It took me a while to figure out why he sets so much of the action away from Caesar; it’s because he’s presenting the famous general as more of a political animal who’s
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Liked it. I picked this up a few years ago and never got round to it. After all, I read as many swords and sandals stuff that I can't keep up with the various series I started back in the day. Do I really have time to commit to another? Especially by one who appears so prolific, he's probably produced another book in the time I've written this review. It's generally fine - introduces the lead character, Fronto - a typical outsider in that he's an excellent and respected soldier, but not a ...more
This was a very pleasant surprise. The beginning of the book was a bit hard to get into, but then it picked up, and wow... I have to say that I haven't read better battle scenes and development of characters under these conditions in a while. I am not sure how Turney does it, but somehow he can encompass the whole battlefield without using the old "surviving character is summarizing the battle" method. He also obviously gave a great thought to infantry and cavalry tactics. There is hardly any ...more
Deborah Pickstone
4.5 stars

Well. This is excellent and would have had 5 stars but was a bit short on an actual plot! Simon Turney is, in my opinion, absolutely the best writer of warfare I have read. His characterisation is very good. Reading the author's note at the end, I have to say he achieved what he set out to do and I am confident that his writing skills will have grown in subsequent books, hopefully with a bit more plot. No matter, he's a wonderful writer and I was impressed by his grasp of his chosen
John Devlin
Nov 28, 2015 rated it liked it
The author does a fine job investing Roman battles with grit and intensity, and I can't argue with his scholarship. Where the book falters is in the characterizations: the legates, the decurions, and the primus plus' tend to blend together - and the characters spend a lot of time drinking at bars.

There's just not a lot of plot.

I think the book would've worked better with fewer characters better realized. Even with my qualifications,if you like Roman history the novel's a bargain at 2.99 and the
Jan 21, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wanted to like it but really didn't. I love the period and it was really a disappointment, felt it was light on story and historical context. Vocab didn't feel it fitted the period "Permission to speak plainly" - pardon?

Mar 11, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf

TL:DR--It's not good enough to waste time on. Even if you like the subject. It's just too poorly written to suffer through this novel--especially as the first book in a multi-book series.

If you're interested in Roman military history, and a lot of readers are, what better way to experience some of these events than through historical fiction, right?

That's what I thought as well. However, the writing had a lot of problems that threw me out of the flow of the book. There were too many
Vicki Cline
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-fiction
This is the first in a series called Marius' Mules, another name for the Roman legions. I assumed it was about Marius so I was surprised to find Caesar on the first page. The book appears to be a novelization of Caesar's first year in his conquest of Gaul. But he's only a secondary character. The main characters are Caesar's legates, who command the different legions that make up Caesar's army, and other important officers in the army. There are good descriptions of various battles and obstacles ...more
DeWayne Landwehr
I like European history, so I was intrigued to find this title. The book's main character is not Ceasar (thank the Gods), but one of his legates, Fronto. The story is about Ceasar's plan and activities leading up to the invasion of Gaul, and how he sacrifices the lives of an entire people to further his own career. There is lots of political intrigue as well as some battle scenes described in gruesome detail. I found it hard slogging to finish the book, even though I was interested in the ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow!!! Probably the best book I have read regarding Caesar's conquest and the roman legions. You get a good feel of every day life in the legions..Look forward to reading this series. Highly recommend this book and the series to anyone who loves to read about Caesar, Ancient Rome and Ancient Battles.
Tyler Yatkowski
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pretty good my man
Jul 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Did not finish the book. Characters were not believable.
Steven Robinson
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great book about the romans
Dustin Mccloskey
The storytelling is pretty simplistic, and some of Turney's writing habits irritate me, but overall I enjoyed this book. I'm not sure if I'll continue to the series, though.
Mar 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Historical Fiction" is a broad category, and this is a worthy contribution. It is Fiction placed in a historical context. As a HUGE FAN of McCulloughs First Man in Rome, it is somewhat difficult to read lesser versions of the genre... but in the Pulp Novel version of the same, this is pretty darn good. Great battle scenes, fun and relateable characters, page-turning plots... maybe I should rate this higher except that... well, I don't know. Maybe I just LIKE Colleen's version of JC better than ...more
Ian Langham
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having finally finished this at 4am
I am both glad I finished it and sad that I took so long with it.
While there are many other books that are centered around the hard bitten noble centurion. This is the first (of a series) that I have found that focuses on the higher ranks, Legates, Tribunes and Caesar himself. At first I was a bit wary that this might be yet another volume in the adventures of Caesar, that have appeared over the years. Happily this is not the case and JC appears upon occasion
Masen Production
Rated 0 stars
“Caesar's Gaul campaign is a well known fact and much has been written of the same in the past. It was a campaign that was to further his career so that he could do something that was considered impossible by the elitist's of Rome. With the backing of the other two (Pompey & Crassus) of the triumvirate he embarks on a annexation on a flimsy excuse. The genocide of the Helvitte tribe is well know, thou this book is about the inner camp story of the senior staff attached to
Robin Carter
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was asked to look up this title I have to say I was unsure!
Its not main stream publication, its got little or not marketing behind it...etc. etc...
But im a sucker for a roman historical fiction book, and the tag line:
"It is perhaps time we looked at Caesar more as a scheming warmonger than a heroic warrior."
This appealed to me, ole JC gets his behind kissed a bit too much so it would be good to see him portrayed a little differently.

This is the up to date more edited version, an advantage
A.J. Armitt
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is a well paced, page-turner, charting Julius Caesar's invasion of Gaul. If you are a fan of Historical Fiction from the likes of Simon Scarrow, Conn Iggulden and David Gemmell, then this really is a book for you!

With great characterisation, bloody battle scenes and political wranglings, the author tells a very different story of one of Rome's greatest Generals; revealing him to be a power-hungry politician rather than a hero of his people.
Written from the POV of the men under his
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This a great book that I came across by chance trying to replace stories about Simon Scarrow's Macro and Cato. This is a fast paced story about our hero Fronto and his path to glory in Gaul supporting Caesar's invasion. Very much the career soldier, Fronto is straight forward and not afraid to speak his mind. The book has a number of twists and sub-plots, which keep you reading to find out what Fronto and the quite devious Caesar are up to next.

Turney seems to have done his research and even
Andy Millen
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The First in the Marius' Mules Series, set in Ceasar's Invasion of Gaul. My gods, this is a belter of a series. I have read up to book three currently, and I am hooked. Brilliantly told, the characters are truly great, and the mix of serious action full on warefare, Drunkenness and politics combines to tell a smashing tale. Indeed, in MArcus FRonto, Simon has created a main character that you could imagine being in a bar getting absolutely pissed with, never mind likeable and believable.
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read.Once get to know the characters you'll find the book grabs you and you find it hard to put it down, and when you finish, you want carry on the story (which I am with the next in the series) .The way it's written you can picture the scenes,battles and people themselves,and the humour to me was really good it made the characters real.If you like roman historical fiction you'll enjoy this book.
Amarpal Sidhu
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well written. Must admit never tried Roman fiction before but really enjoyed it. Turney has great descriptive ability - makes you feel like you there as a fly on the wall. All this is backed up by great research and knowledge into the period so the illusion isn't spoiled and you stay comfortably in the Roman 'time warp'. Since this was his first effort I have absolutely no doubt the sequels are better.

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Simon lives with his wife and children and a menagerie of animals in rural North Yorkshire, where he sits in an office, wired on coffee and digestive biscuits, and attempts to spin engrossing tales out of strands of imagination while his children drive toys across his desk and two dogs howl as they try to share a brain cell.

A born and bred Yorkshireman with a love of country, history and

Other books in the series

Marius' Mules (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Belgae (Marius' Mules, #2)
  • Gallia Invicta (Marius' Mules, #3)
  • Conspiracy of Eagles (Marius' Mules, #4)
  • Hades' Gate (Marius' Mules, #5)
  • Caesar's Vow (Marius' Mules, #6)
  • The Great Revolt (Marius' Mules, #7)
  • Sons of Taranis (Marius' Mules,  #8)
  • Pax Gallica (Marius' Mules #9)
  • Fields of Mars (Marius' Mules, #10)
  • Marius' Mules XI: Tides of War