Empire of Dragons
The book begins in Edessa, an outpost of the Eastern Roman Empire in 260 AD. Metellus and his men faithfully serve the emperor, Valerian, but even they cannot save him from a trap laid by the Persian king, Shapur I. Captured, they serve their time in the mines before escaping and travelling much further east than they could imagine – to China. Here they become involved in a dynamic clash that costs some their lives.
The premise of the book promises much: the clash of cultures of two great empires. But it does not live up to the concept. This is due, in the main, to the quality of the storytelling. The tale is essentially a light read and is told in light brush strokes so that the reader does not really care what happens to the characters. The dialogue is clunky and the characterisation minimal though the occasional vivid picture does emerge. This book is a fast-paced adventure story with ingenious weaponry and heroic fighting techniques very much to the fore.