(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
A collection of bite-size stories of varying styles all based in the world of ancient Rome. 12 tales of the ancient world, plus a bonus tale to finish.
The second edition contains two new tales not told in the 1st. Laugh, cry and shudder at:
Hold The Wall – Hadrian’s wall in the last days of the western empire
Vigil – A comedic tale of firefighting in Rome
*NEW* Rudis – A champion gladiator fights his last fight
*NEW* The Discovery – A Roman trader makes a surprising find in distant China
The man who bought an Empire – The lowest point of Imperial succession
Trackside seats – A slave helps his blind master at the circus
How to run a latifundium – A cautionary tale of estate management
A Reading – What does the future hold in Judea?
Exploratores – Trajan’s scouts on the trail of Dacian warriors
With a pinch of salt – A comedic tale of food in Claudius’ Rome
The Palmyrene Prince – Rome’s eastern border tells grim tales
Temple Trouble – A tale of the early days of Fronto (of the Marius’ Mules series)
Bonus tale: Aftermath in the Ludus – A fun finish.
As you guys probably know from my reviews I don’t actually read all that many anthologies. They’re just usually not my thing unless they’re from a writer I really love. Still, I decided to download Tales of Ancient Rome for free on Amazon one day because I figured I had nothing to lose and at least something to gain. I mean, I love ancient Rome.
So overall, how was the anthology? Pretty good, actually. Turney managed to span quite a few different periods of time in the Roman Empire, from the reign of Claudius to the last days of the empire as it was being torn apart by invaders and civil wars. I always like a little variety in an anthology and this one certainly delivered in that respect.
Most of the stories were pretty solid. They’re quite short but they’re nice little slices of Roman life. We have everything from the viewpoints of foreign princes to slaves and each character has a distinct outlook on life. Some stories are more humourous than others but pretty much all of them are interesting. One of my favourites was Rudis, the tale of the gladiator in his very last fight before his freedom because the ending was so unexpected. He was a fascinating character, even though he didn’t get much page time. Temple Trouble was laugh out loud hilarious and it actually makes me want to read the full length series in which that character features. He would certainly get into some interesting situations! There were some weak stories like Ludus but most stories were pretty good.
As for historical accuracy, I was quite impressed. Turney knows his stuff and all of the little details he puts into his writing makes it better. He has a good grasp of the wide span of Roman history and although it would be a little hard to orient yourself if you’re not familiar with Roman history, I quite enjoyed the stories because I picked out little clues as to the time period. If you know sort of a general outline of Roman history you should be fine with Tales of Ancient Rome but if you’re a newcomer I wouldn’t recommend the anthology.
Basically, Tales of Ancient Rome (Volume 1) was a solid anthology. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever read and there were some weaker aspects to it but overall I was quite impressed. I certainly got more than my money’s worth out of it and I’d recommend it to my fellow Roman history enthusiasts. Best of all, it’s free as a Kindle or Nook ebook.
I give this anthology 4.5/5 stars.
(Cover picture courtesy of Kobo Books.)
Prequel collection to Mortality.
It’s month after the dead first began to walk. The miracle vaccine that was supposed to save us all has failed.
Now, four teens fight to stay alive as a stronger, smarter breed of zombie begins to appear, threatening to end humanity for good.
Four short stories, 11,000 words total
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
After reading Kellie Sheridan’s first book in The Hitchhiker Strain and seeing that there was a prequel anthology to it, I just had to read it. After all, Mortality was pretty awesome and I was interested in learning about the characters lives during the apocalypse itself. But did End Dayz add to my overall enjoyment of Kellie Sheridan’s world?
Absolutely! Learning more about Pierce, Belle, Alex and Zack was awesome. Not only did I get to learn more about the characters themselves, but also about the zombie apocalypse and what it was like to live in that chaos. Not only that, I learned a little about how Savannah was orphaned but I won’t go into detail about that because it’s a spoiler. Unlike so many anthology collections by the same author, each character in End Dayz had an unique voice in their writing. Some of them were chronicling the apocalypse through letters to their family, diary entries or mission reports. But in the end, everyone sounded different and that allowed me to get a real sense of their personality.
Belle is the bubbly young woman we meet in Mortality, Pierce is slightly stuck-up, Alex is the underdog and Zack is the serious team leader. That may sound like they’re all one dimensional characters, but they’re not. There are unique spins on each of the archetypal characters, which I was so thankful for. Kellie Sheridan is one of those writers that seems to stay away from clichés as much as possible and that’s what makes The Hitchhiker Strain one of my top series to follow into the future.
I give this book 5/5 stars.