Marching with Caesar: Conquest of Gaul

Written by R.W. Peake
Review by Steve Donoghue

In R. W. Peake’s long, dense, utterly absorbing book Marching with Caesar: Conquest of Gaul, readers follow the story of Titus Pullus, who joined Julius Caesar’s legendary 10th Legion as a young man seeking to shed his bitter home life for the glory and adventure of the Legions. Peake, a retired infantry Marine, brings to the familiar story of Caesar’s conquest of Gaul the gritty, boots-on-the-ground realism of personal experience, and the results are amazingly compelling. We follow Pullus through every aspect of a legionary’s existence, from the work and tedium of camp and training to the terror of combat to the turmoil enlisted service can wreak on personal lives, and Peake’s exhaustive research shows on every page, but always fascinating, never tedious. The pacing is deliberately leisurely, the dialogue crackles with realism, and of course Pullus is right there to watch history unfold. Fans of Roman historical fiction—or military fiction just in general—shouldn’t miss what looks to be one heck of a series.