Aaaaaand another blog tour! I’m starting to feel like a tour guide for books – and I like the feeling. Today I’m taking you to Dacia, approximately where Romania is situated in the present day, to one of the later big expansions of the Roman Empire. The story of The Fort takes place, surprise, surprise, at a Roman fort and the people situated around it.
Many thanks to Vicky Joss and Head of Zeus for inviting me on this blog tour and for sending me a review copy of The Fort. All opinions are my own.
RELEASE DATE: 10/06/2021
STAR RATING: 3.5/5 ✶
SUMMARY: AD 105: DACIA
The Dacian kingdom and Rome are at peace, but no one thinks that it will last. Sent to command an isolated fort beyond the Danube, centurion Flavius Ferox can sense that war is coming, but also knows that enemies may be closer to home.
Many of the Brigantes under his command are former rebels and convicts, as likely to kill him as obey an order. And then there is Hadrian, the emperor’s cousin, and a man with plans of his own… (from Head of Zeus)
OPINIONS: The Fort is exceedingly fun. It’s small-scale military drama woven into bigger politics with some strong characters. I picked this up without knowing too much about what to expect simply because I have been really enjoying the recent classically set novels like The Wolf Den (haha, Fab, you are slightly ridiculous given the title of this book) – this is actually more of a dad-book rather than a feminist one, so I was certainly in for a surprise. But not necessarily a bad one. Once I adjusted my expectations (aka Fab stops being upset at the lack of women in a Roman army) I really enjoyed myself and the story for what it is. Sometimes it is a good thing if I don’t pay too much attention to blurbs past the setting because I’m not sure I would have picked this up otherwise and I’d have deprived myself of a story I really enjoyed.
The Fort is really fast paced and compelling. I consistently struggled to put it down at the intervals I gave myself – part of that is that I think I’m slowly getting my reading mojo back, but a large part is the writing in The Fort. I loved reading this action packed military novel, detailing the struggles at the Dacian border, with problems with traitors within the legion. The leading characters are strong, and I especially liked Claudia Enica, the Dacian queen. She stood out not only as a female warrior but through the respect that the Romans showed her, both in her own right and as the wife of Flavius Ferox. I appreciated that as one of the only women in the story she was presented as a character with agency rather than objectified which seems to be the case in this sort of novel all too often.
It is clear that the author is an expert on the time period and the Roman army and has done his research. The Fort is excellently embedded in history without detail overwhelming the reader, which is the true art of writing historical novels. I am curious to see where the series goes next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, The Roman Army at War was recognised by John Keegan as an exceptionally impressive work, original in treatment and impressive in style. He has gone on to write several other books, including The Fall of the West, Caesar, In the Name of Rome, Cannae and Roman Warfare, which have sold more than a quarter of a million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages. A full-time author, he regularly contributes to TV documentaries on Roman themes.