Monday, 30 April 2012

The Leopard Sword, Anthony Riches

Publishers: Hodder

Pages: 400

Main Characters:

Marcus, Julius, Obduro

The Leopard Sword is the fourth book in Anthony Riches' Empire series and sees our Centurion Marcus Corvus and the Tungrian cohorts fighting bandits on the German frontier. What at first seems like an easy task of removing a few bandits from the towns of the Roman frontier, soon becomes an all-out war between the Roman forces and the band of vicious rebels under the rule of Obduro.  Obduro holds an immense amount of power over the Roman town of Tungrorum, finding information on the new cohorts posted there and even digging into Marcus’s past, the past which he believed he’d left in Britannia. Marcus and the Tungrians must bring Obduro to heel and re-establish Roman dominance in the area. But this will not be an easy task. Obduro’s stronghold is in the forest of Arduenna, (where he believes he is protected by the Goddess of the forest as he pays her sacrifice with human blood) and is formidable, needing a full Legion to conquer it. Along with the Goddess’ protection, Obduro has an immensely powerful sword which has been known to slice men in two and which he believes will never be beaten by another sword. The task to remove this threat will be difficult for Marcus and the Tungrians.

Meanwhile Centurion Julius has his own personal problem. After returning to Tungrorum (the place he grew up) from Britain, he finds that the love of his life Annia is been held and exploited by one of the town’s most powerful and violent gang leaders, Petrus. Julius must rescue Annia from the wrath of Petrus if he ever wants to re-kindle the love they shared over fifteen years ago. But with the whole of his gangs muscle behind Petrus, it will take brains as well as brawn for Julius to get her back.

If I’m been honest I didn’t mean to read this book! It was only by coincidence that I was searching through ‘the store’ on my Kobo and realised this book had been released that day! I thought that since I had only reviewed the third book in the series the Fortress of Spears a few days ago, (and that it got a pretty good response from you guys) that I should review this one straight away. And as usual I’m glad I did read this book because Riches does another great job!

Like its predecessor the book is extremely fast-paced. From the first page you're in the middle of a battle and introduced to the cunning and devious villain Obduro. The mystery behind who Obduro is also makes this book a brilliant read. His face is always hidden behind a cavalry helmet so you don’t find out who he is till the end, and when he is finally revealed it is quite unbelievable!

The thing I also like about Riches’ style of writing is that in each book he introduces us to the sub-stories of other characters in the series. In the last book its sub-stories were focused on Prince Martos and Dubnus. In this story it is focused on Julius and his life before the legion. I think this only adds to the book because it means as a reader you get to know some of the smaller characters in the plot, instead of it just always been about Marcus!

Great book can’t wait for the next one! Like I said in my review of the Fortress of Spears, I would suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of Simon ScarrowConn Iggulden or Ben Kane.

For author’s official website please click here

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my FREE ‘Book of the Month’ Competition, it starts tomorrow! Click here for further details.

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