Arminius: The Limits of Empire

Written by Robert Fabbri
Review by Mike Ashworth

9 AD. Arminius of the Cherusci leads an alliance of six Germanic tribes against the might of the Roman Empire. The story is told from the viewpoint of Thumelicatz, son of Arminius. The book opens with Thumelicatz fighting as a gladiator, before gaining his freedom and returning home some thirty-odd years after the battle. As chief of his tribe, after the death of his father, he is approached by a group of Romans who ask for his help in recovering one of the Eagles lost in the battle. The story of the events leading up to the massacre, the battle itself, and the aftermath unfold as the facts are revealed from records written by two Roman survivors who are slaves to the Cherusci chief.

This is historical fiction at its very best. In this well-researched novel, the author brings alive the whole period. The characters are strong and the cultures of both Rome and the Germanic tribes are effectively portrayed, contrasting and comparing the two societies. The action scenes are exhilarating and graphic without being gratuitous. This is a story of courage, military incompetence, political jealousy, pride and a warning that the ancient Gods are very unforgiving. Once you start this, you’ll find it difficult to put down!