Arrows of Fury

Written by Anthony Riches
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

Arrows of Fury continues the career of Marcus Valerius Aquila, condemned to die a dishonourable death by the Emperor Commodus for the supposed cowardice of his father and under Commodus’ rule—which means that all members of the Aquila family are condemned to die. Marcus, now simply known as Centurion Corvus, escaped and is now serving with the 1st Tungrian cohort north of Hadrian’s Wall. Reinforcements have been sent to Britain full of men with no reason to protect Marcus’ identity or whereabouts from being discovered and one officer, in particular, is bent on discovering the fugitive.

This book, the sequel to Wounds of Honour, is full of detail of life in the Roman army in northern Britain in the 2nd century AD. The battles are meticulously portrayed, with the reader seeing and feeling every arrow and spear thrust. This is another historical novel where the real-life protagonists are the heroes/villains of the story, but I found it a little difficult to get into as there was no resume of what had gone before in the first book or a list of personae. Had I not been somewhat familiar with the history of this period I would have had considerable problems in working out what had happened previously, who was whom and exactly why Marcus was on the run. If this series continues with a third book I sincerely hope that this will be remedied.

Otherwise an enthralling read.