Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Empire of Dragons” as Want to Read:
Empire of Dragons
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Empire of Dragons

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,243 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Southern Anatolia, 260 AD

The town of Edessa, a Roman outpost, is on its last legs, besieged by the Persian troops of Shapur I. Roman Emperor Licinius Valerianus agrees to meet his adversary to draw up a peace treaty, but it is only a trap and the Emperor and his twelve guards are chained and dragged away to work as prisoners in a solitary Persian turquoise mine.

After month
Paperback, 401 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Pan Books (UK) (first published 1999)
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 Empire of Dragons, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Empire of Dragons

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,243 ratings  ·  90 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
The book was enjoyable at the beginning, where the author is in his element. The Roman characters are believeable and you feel like you're part of the story. It's when they arrive in China that things start to go down hill.

Others have already mentioned the use of 'Eastern mysticism'. It is cliched and doesn't give the characters any depth. In fact, it does the opposite, turning them into stereotypical 'kung fu warriors'.

Clearly the author has no idea of the history of the Three Kingdoms. China w
Nov 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started out slow and the dialogue came across as wooden. As the story went on though it showed invention and careful plotting. A surprise sleeper. The central idea: that Roman soldiers had escaped the destruction of the battle of Carrae and resettled within China's borders is not as far fetched as it sounds. The author admits this book is imagination and fiction but is based on recent historical finds. My only problem was once again it becomes an imitation of a Hollywood script with a big kung f ...more
Zachary Underhill
Mar 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reads more like a screenplay than a novel. No character development, characters do things that make no sense with no apparent motivation, characters seem to be introduced to advance the plot and then disappear entirely with no resolution to their story. There also seems to be a translation issue, as I was introduced to some brand new words and others that just didn't belong.

Just... sigh. Some nice descriptions of landscapes I guess?
Diana Dimovska
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Great book! Big thanks to my lovely friends for this amazing birthday gift! :)
Kerry Hennigan
I picked up Valerio Massimo Manfredi's "Empire of Dragons" because the premise interested me - Roman legionnaires finding themselves a long way from home - having traveled to what was known to them in the 3rd century AD only as the Land of Silk (i.e. China).

How they get there is the most interesting part of this fictional tale, which does feature key historical background personnel, including the Emperor Valerianus, whom Marcus and his men serve. But the further from known historical facts the R
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
vm manfredi is an excellent author as this is the 5th or sixth of his novels i read, once again i have enjoy his writing,if any reader has read any of his novels,will enjoy this novel.
Jose Garcia
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but not excellent, more novel than history

Good enough but not the best book, if you want to learn history this book will not help to you, however, If you like novel is good,.
César Augusto
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dancing with words!

Once I started it was impossible to stop. Great clash between east and west. A great journey into the soul of a men, his love and his army.
Tom B
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Nice story on the idea of a group of Roman soldiers venturing into China. Recommended for light reading.
Andrew McAuley
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
The novel is entertaining, but when I read a novel I generally want more than light entertainment. There are several other novels featuring the meeting of states between Rome and ancient China; I avoided the others but was drawn to this one because the author is a historian, so I expected it to be made of sterner stuff- I hadn't read any of Manfredi's other works, but seen the movie 'The last legion' and thought it was silly- however hollywood tends to do that to books so I didn't let it put me ...more
Lee Sargent
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
If you dig Valerio Massimo Manfredi's other books you'll enjoy this - it's a solid read - felt slightly too long to me but my attention span is shot to hell LOL
Jan 23, 2015 rated it liked it
This book leaves the reader wondering- "What if the Chinese and Roman Empire had been able to make direct contact without the middle men Persians in between? Would we have had a trans asian and western alliance along the Silk route and how our history would have been different?" ... exactly what the author wants to make us wonder.

The story is derived from history when a Chinese ambassador had crossed Persia and reached the border of Roman empire (somewhere near Byzantine) in the quest of the leg
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this more than the 'The Lost Army' by Manfredi but I think it's the subject matter that brings these books down for me. I'm just not that interested in that period in history. I'm much more of a medieval/european royal families kinda gal. Still I did not stuggle with this one like I did with the book mentioned above but I didn't fly though it either.

The plot is quiet good even if I was a bit confused towards the end. I didn't understand why it was okay for a roman solider to be in lov
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historic-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it
The Bottom Line - Should you read this book?
NO, UNLESS - you are already a fan of this type of historical fiction (meaning you enjoy authors like Conn Iggulden), or if you have a strong interest in the Roman Empires relationship to ancient China.

Had a strong narrative but suffered from the fact that the plot became diluted around 250 pages in. Introductory chapters were believable and very engaging. Would've benefited from more intriguing descriptions of the lands the protagonist and his men tra
Penelope Green
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This started off very well for a book I bought for $3 from a remainder bin. The author had a reasonable grasp history and the premise was interesting.

Unfortunately the last hundred pages turned into a magic-spiritualist East vs materialist-pragmatic West and lost all plausibility and interest as the standard tropes started to creep in.
May 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, historical
Acceptable historical novel. Enough to keep my interest, but was somewhat formulaic and full of rather stereotyped "eastern mysticism". It also had characters who appeared in chapters at the beginning, but disappeared with no explanation (e.g. the King of Persia, Marcus's son and his slave) which was somewhat odd as far as the tale goes.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
I loved the premise, hated the execution. The characters are flat and don't do anything interesting or unexpected, the dialogue is cheesy and the author doesn't show a particularly deep understanding of any of the cultures he deals with.
Andreas Michaelides
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A nice imaginary story, the possibility of the two cultures Roman and Chinese to ever met is intriguing and interesting to say the least, makes you wonder.

The end was cool but hen again I like martial arts. Nice story, beautiful descriptions of the ancient landscapes I enjoyed very much.
Nov 27, 2010 rated it liked it
This guy is an amazing writer,.. Can't imagine how good the original Italian mustve been. But it s a bit longwinded and gets tedious with all the stuff about Chinese culture...
Richard Clarke
Jun 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I like Manfredi's mix of historical novels, the characters are perhaps a little simple, but this mix of east/west meeting in the ancient cultures sparked my imagination and provided for a good read.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it liked it
It's certainly not a girly book.
It mentions a lot military strategies, although interesting it was a bit difficult to get into the book.
Sarah Welek
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved the mix of cultures in this book and the detail as always was as a book should be. Thank you
Nay Lin Soe
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
The first two-thirds or so are highly exciting. But the rest is highly contrived with a forced romance.
Hnin Noble Shein
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
With simple yet descriptive words which does not bore the reader and a interesting plot and strong character which carry the reader through the historical world.... Worth it....
Ann Thomas
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gripping story of a Roman commander and his men in AD260, and their extraordinary epic journey to China.
Jon P
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Getting into the book was a bit of a challenge but when you become immersed in the story it becomes a very hard book to put down.
Nov 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This started off well but I got bored with it by the time they got to China.
Julio Mora
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Historic novel, easy reading.
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
incorrect author 1 3 Apr 27, 2014 07:56AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Il mistero dell'inquisitore Eymerich
  • Magdeburg. L'eretico
  • Il cuore di Derfel
  • La conjura de Cortés (Martín Ojo de Plata, #3)
  • Gods and Legions: A Novel of the Roman Empire
  • Four Days in June: Waterloo: A Battle for Honour and Glory
  • Il coraggio del pettirosso
  • The Pillars of Rome (Republic, #1)
  • Hyperversum: Il cavaliere del tempo (Hyperversum, #3)
  • L'amante senza fissa dimora
  • Les Silences de Dieu
  • Die Kinder des Gral (Grail Cycle, #1)
  • Tyrant (Tyrant, #1)
  • A Gladiator Dies Only Once (Roma Sub Rosa, #11)
See similar books…
Valerio Massimo Manfredi (born 1943) is an Italian historian, writer, archaeologist and journalist. He was born in Piumazzo di Castelfranco Emilia, province of Modena and is married to Christine Fedderson Manfredi, who translates his published works from Italian to English. They have two children and live in a small town near Bologna.
Valerio Massimo Manfredi defines himself as an "Ancient World To
“El mar, en cambio, es el espejo de nuestros pensamientos, y por desgracia de los más profundos y melancólicos. Refleja aquello que hay oculto en las profundidades de nuestro espíritu, nuestros miedos inconfesados; hasta el rostro de la muerte se trasluce bajo la superficie líquida y cambiante, detrás del horizonte que huye cada vez más lejos, que no se deja nunca alcanzar.” 1 likes
“Não é difícil morrer em batalha, com a espada em punho, morrer ao sol, no auge do êxtase, no frenesim do combate. Já uma coisa muito diferente é irmo-nos apagando lentamente, à míngua e ao abandono.” 1 likes
More quotes…