Legionary by Gordon Doherty

Legionary, By Gordon Doherty.

Legionary is Gordon Doherty’s first novel, a self-published full length Roman military adventure. It distinguishes itself from many Roman fiction novels by moving itself away from the best known era of the late Republic and early Empire, being instead set in the Eastern Empire at a time when the Empire has been split in two, and Valens is Emperor. The story follows Pavo, a freed slave who becomes a legionary and joins the XIth Claudia. It is well-researched novel and an interesting time to read about, when former enemies, the Goths, are friends, and new enemies, the Huns are arising. Pavo survives against the odds in battle, against enemies with and outside the Empire, and needs to use his skills, connections and low cunning to save his legion from treachery and the threat of the Huns.
Legionary snowballs well as it progresses, small climaxes becoming bigger and bigger until the grand finale, making me read the last fifty pages in one sitting. That this is self-published and a first novel shows up slightly in some of the descriptions early in the book, but whether the writing improved as I read on, or I no longer noticed any problems because I was too gripped by the plot, this is a minor criticism of an exciting story. Well worth taking the time to download and read.

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