The Fort (City of Victory 1)

Written by Adrian Goldsworthy
Review by Chris James

105 AD. Trajan is Emperor of Rome, and Decebalus is king in Dacia (modern Romania). An uneasy peace exists between the empire and the barbarian king following the first Dacian war. Enter Flavius Ferox, Roman centurion of British extraction, the new commander of a Roman fort north of the Danube. Though the fort guards the road to Rome’s near-complete colossal bridge across the Danube, it may yet be a pawn willingly sacrificed in the wily manoeuvrings of Trajan’s cousin and newly promoted general of the II Legion, Hadrian. High politics and barbarians notwithstanding, the beleaguered Flavius must also beware his own men’s loyalty, embittered as they are due to his part in quelling a recent revolt in their homeland of Brigantia (northern England).

The Fort is the gripping first instalment in a new trilogy by Adrian Goldsworthy, a first-rate historian who turns a dab hand to historical fiction. It sees the return of the protagonist of his Britannia series, Flavius Ferox, and plunges him headfirst into the plot outlined above. A stonking read with the potent recipe of a Roman sword and sandals classic: gritty military characters, barbarian courage, carnage, Roman discipline, intrigue and above all, brilliantly researched. Highly recommended.