The Capsarius: Volume 1 (Legion XXII)

Written by Simon Turney
Review by Mike Ashworth

Titus Cervianus is a Capsarius: a combat medic in the 22nd Legion. He is also seen as unlucky by his comrades in the 22nd, and he upsets the gods by his questioning attitude to everything. Before joining the legion he had been a doctor, and he has a scientific curiosity which sets him apart from both the officers and his comrades. The legion is in Egypt to undertake a campaign against the Queen of Kush, who has decided to take advantage of what she sees as Roman weakness. As the campaign unfolds, Titus finds unexpected allies in a cavalryman from a native regiment and a rather strange legionary who has recently joined the legion. Titus will need all the help he can get as the legion, led by an inexperienced, arrogant, obstinate tribune, moves slowly up the Nile ready for battle.

Using a Capsarius as the central character brings a whole new dimension to the genre. The action sequences are exciting and realistic without being overly graphic. The central character is strong and totally believable, while his pragmatic and probing attitude is a sharp contrast to the rather rigid Roman mind. This is a very enjoyable read, and I look forward with some impatience for the next episode. Recommended.