The Leopard Sword

Written by Anthony Riches
Review by Mike Ashworth

Marcus Valerius Aquila returns in this the fourth of the Empire series. Continuing to use the pseudonym of Marcus Tribulus Corvus, centurion of the second Tungrian auxiliary cohort, he leads his men from Britain to the Tungrians’ original home in Germania Inferior. Here he finds himself engaged in a deadly battle of wits against a bandit chieftain called Obduro, whose identity is always hidden behind an iron cavalry helmet. What starts as a simple case of banditry swiftly escalates into a campaign which could destabilise the whole of the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

This is a fast-paced, action-packed read. Anthony Riches brings alive the harsh reality of the Roman world – the period, people, and culture – in a frenetic and exciting novel which is well researched and tinged with humour. The battle sequences are vivid and expertly told without being graphically violent. Difficult to put down, this is a welcome addition to the genre. This book can be read independently of the others in the series, as the back story quickly fills in the events of the previous novel (Fortress of Spears). Recommended.