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Blood and Steel

(Throne of the Caesars #2)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  227 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Blending heart-pounding action and historical accuracy, Harry Sidebottom’s bestselling Warrior of Rome series took readers from the shouts of the battlefield to the whisperings of the emperor’s inner circle. In this second book of his new Throne of the Caesars series, Sidebottom continues his retelling of one of the bloodiest periods of Roman history—the Year of the Six Em ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by The Overlook Press (first published March 15th 2015)
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This well-written volume picks up where Iron and Rust left off. Maximinus has become a tyrant, concerned only with his Northern army. The main theme is the Gordian Revolt against Maximinus Thrax and takes place during three weeks in March 238 A.D. The Gordianii, father and son, are acclaimed joint emperors, although Maximinus still lives. First blood is drawn: the Praetorian Prefect, Vitalianus, is stabbed to death by Menophilus, envoy of the Gordianii, whom he supports. Father and son are decla ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman-empire
Well, in a very Giles Kristian-like way, Harry has really turned it around in book two. This is much, much more like it. I'm not saying that all Historical Fiction has to be filled with battles and action, action, action, but when you set it up as such in the blurb, you better deliver. Book One didn't, book two does.

Of course, writing about the Roman period in history, is a fail-safe for intrigue, backstabbing, plots, battles galore, civil wars every five minutes, wait a decade for a new Emperor
Ian Miller
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This historical novel, the second of a series, is set in AD 238, when the Roman Empire is in deep trouble. Maximinus was emperor, and his policy was simple: double the pay of his soldiers. That, of course, needed more taxes, which contributes to the economic collapse in progress. Meanwhile there are continual wars on the borders, and threats of civil war at home. The Senate disapproves of the Thracian, and in North Africa the two Gordians are made Augusti. The major problem for the Gordians is t ...more
Robin Carter
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Blood and Steel is a direct continuation of book 1 Iron and Rust, and like its predecessor it’s a cracking read. Harry Sidebottom is at his core an educator but having met the man a few times he is also a bit of an entertainer. In his books he teaches every reader something new, not surprising really for a man who lectures at Oxford. The surprising thing is the gripping and engaging way he tells the tale, his passion for the subject bleeding into every chapter. As ever his chosen period is
Gritty, intense and bloody recreation of the martial and political events of one month in AD 238 when rival emperors took on Maximinus and divided the empire in civil war.

Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Plot: 10 (tightly focused and clear narrative)
Characters: 9 (generally unlikable but memorable)
Accuracy: 10 (thoroughly researched and reliable)

This book seems to have solved the problems plaguing the last one. There is a lot more action (we're seeing an actual revolt instead of merely the suppression of ones) and it all forms a coherent narrative over the course of about three weeks. Even though we actually hear from more POV characters (thirteen this time, three more than last) they are all re
Karl Jorgenson
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wow. Goodreads finds four other books with this title. Sidebottom returns to his engaging form with this second in the series. The first book in this series was too scattered: too many characters, too many subplots. This book suffers from that also, but less so. The emperor is fighting the northern barbarians, the Gordians have revolted in Africa, the Persians are overrunning the east, and the Roman Senators are trying to figure out how to have a successful revolution without getting their hands ...more
Steve Switzer
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Part 2 in this historical fiction series based in the murky world of the anarchy of 3rd century imperial rome.
Maximus Thrax faces the revolt and advances against his challengers with fury in his heart and vengeance on his mind
Greg Barron
I really wanted to like this, but there was way too much exposition and explanation. The author obviously knows his stuff, but there was simply not enough action for my taste.
fast moving but less enthralling than Iron and Rust as the action is more compressed in time and there is some "middle volume" feel here
Clemens Schoonderwoert
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This eventful and thrilling book by Harry Sidebottom is the 2nd volume of the Throne of the Caesars series.
As always the historical details are very well researched and explained by the author, the book contains also a great deal of wonderful maps about this period of history, as well as a very informative glossary and a great list of characters.
The storytelling is absolutely wonderful, for the author has managed amazingly well in telling this astounding story while keeping the real historical e
Timothy Williams
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Blood and Steel more than the first book in this series, the author spent more time in the actual narrative. I think sometimes Mr. Sidebottom forgets he is writing a novel so the experience can occasionally feel like you are reading a textbook with dialogue, but the story he is telling is too good for me too let that get in the way.
Conrad Kinch
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you liked Volume One this is more of the same. Part historical novel, part political thriller and part Mafia saga - this is Roman history red in tooth and claw. Recommended.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-to-self
I enjoy this series, but it does lack some intensity in battles and reads more like a timeline explanation than some epic story of the Caesars.
Luka Novak
Well, it's an improvement over previous one in that characters are, by now, more familair, as are their connections and motivations. Book still jumps between various places (border, Rome, North Africa, Mesopotamia, northern Italy) but by now you know who is who in those places.

The book is also quickly picking up the pace, seeing how entire book covers span of few months.

Overall I'm not terribly impressed by the series. It's not that it's not well written, it's jsut that it's not up to Warrior of
Mar 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Having read this straight after Throne of the Caesars #1, it was easy to get absorbed all over again. Certainly, one of the periods in history I would not choose to go to if a time machine was available. Such a dangerous time for notables and plebs alike. Fast moving but perhaps a tad less satisfying than the first one. And the ending....???...... Definitely recommended to the normal crew.
Andrew Parrish
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
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tony mckee
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Larry Bell
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Harry Sidebottom is Lecturer in Ancient History at Merton College, Oxford, and part-time lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. He has written for and contributed to many publications, including Classical Review, Journal of Roman Studies, and War and Society in the Roman World.

Other books in the series

Throne of the Caesars (4 books)
  • Iron and Rust (Throne of the Caesars, #1)
  • Fire and Sword (Throne of the Caesars #3)
  • Smoke & Mirrors (Throne of the Caesars, #3.5)