Primus Seneca has lived most of his life in exile. Ten years ago his father led an army against the ruthless dictator Tiberius–and was crushed. Now the general plans his revenge from the snowy heart of the Boreal forest, and sixteen-year-old Primus is eager to join his father’s legion. But once he is sworn in, Primus begins to unravel family secrets that will shake his faith in the cause, his father, and the very nature of the gods.”
Disclaimer: I received a review copy free from the author. Generally, I say no to review requests, only because I fear I won’t have the time to do them properly. This story, being a novella, I considered short enough to take a chance on. I’m glad I did.
Take your knowledge of Roman History. Now add a dash of Game of Thrones, a sprinkle of Percy Jackson, and a good, old helping of youthful antics. Voila, you now have James Gawley’s novella Exiles of Arcadia: Legionnaire. Young Primus Seneca has just joined the Legion, practically the last force available to his father, a former General turned rebel. But the rebellion was crushed, and the Legion has been stuck, far to the north of civilization, biding its time and planning its vengeance. Primus would like to be part of the action, at the very least to see his father, but events seem to keep this from him.
As a fan of both Roman and Alternate history/fantasy writing, I was pleased to see some attention to detail occasionally missing from other books. Camp set-ups, religious ceremonies (Even to fantasy gods/goddesses), the mundane, daily things necessary for the legion to function, all had a place in this book. One of my favorite scenes is early in the novella, when Primus is barely saved from being turned into human jelly during a woodcutting expedition. But the action increase from there, with lows and highs as Primus finds himself confronted with situations that push him to turn from boy into man.
So did I enjoy it? Yes. Fans of the Percy Jackson books will definitely enjoy and see the connections, especially the father issues. Fans of Roman Alternate history or fantasy will also get a kick out of this quick, afternoon read. And you, like I, will be left saying “Magis Placet” (More, Please!). I look forward to Mr. Gawley’s next novel.
Four out of Five Roman Legionnaires! (4/5)