Amulet: The Caucasus Campaign

Written by Fredrik Nath
Review by Alan Fisk

Aulus Veridius Scapula is born into a comfortable life around 100 B.C. as the son of a respected and successful jeweller. There wouldn’t be a story if everything didn’t go horribly wrong, and it does. At 15, Aulus finds himself orphaned, destitute, and forced to live a homeless life as a thief in the streets. His only memento of his past happy life is an emerald amulet that he keeps around his neck. All he understood about it from his father is that it holds an immensely valuable secret.

A not entirely voluntary enlistment in the Ninth Legion gives Aulus a new start, toughens him up, and gives him a new friend in his fellow legionary Junius.

The Ninth Legion is shipped to Sinope in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in preparation for a campaign against the Armenians. While waiting in Sinope, Aulus and Junius become mixed up with corsairs. After enslavement and shipwreck they meet the beautiful young Queen Hypsicratea, who is being held in courteous but firm captivity by the Romans.

The starting gun is fired (metaphorically) for the campaign in Armenia. Aulus and Junius must march off with the Ninth Legion. After a great battle, Aulus seems once again to have lost nearly everything, but this is the first volume of a series, and several plot points are legitimately left unresolved, so stay tuned for the next instalment. I certainly will; Amulet: The Caucasus Campaign is a fast-paced and exciting read.