Marc Antony’s Heroes
The fourth in his Roman Legion series, Mark Antony’s Heroes brings us the story of the III Gallica, one of the early legions raised at Rome in the times of the Republic, delving into its history, aptly portraying rank and file, their victories and their defeats. In this case, we follow mostly the III Gallica’s first Syrian “crop” of legionaries from the time they are green recruits to their death in battle or their discharge, twenty years later. With the ease and authority of thirty-some years of research, Dando-Collins calls up the military machine of the Roman Empire with impressive detail and pace. We meet heroes, rogues, swash-buckling generals, and bungling officers. On the pages, a muscular narrative relentlessly drives the reader, involving him. Dando-Collins makes you care about the troops when Mark Antony rashly leads them into Parthian territory, or when they are trapped by Jewish zealots, or facing the wild Sarmatians. Spellbound, we watch as our legionaries sack a helpless city, save the Apostle Paul, or by stubbornly refuse to swear loyalty to the emperor, change the course of history. A good book, this should find a spot on the shelves of military history devotees.