THE WARLORDS by Richard Denham & M J Trow #Bookreview @britanniaseries #TuesdayBookBlog

The Warlords (Britannia, #3)The Warlords by Richard Denham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Warlords is book #3 in the Britannia series of historical fiction set in Roman Britain. I do suggest reading these books in order to understand the full storyline and to get a grip on all the characters.

In this book Magnus Maximus the usurper who declared himself Caesar, then Augustus and who then marched against the Roman Emperor Theodosius, is dead. Killed in battle. The Isle of Britannia is a thorn in the Roman side, troublesome and supporting threats to the throne. Theodosius intends to make a lasting impression on the people of Britannia and stamp out the uprisings.

He sends the severed head of Maximus to Britannia with the intention of having it paraded around the province. However inhabitants of the thorn in his side, send him back the head of his own man in retaliation. So instead Theodosius sends a non nonsense soldier Stilicho to teach these barbarians a lesson or two in obedience.

In Londinium few can be trusted, the underworld of the city is run by Scipio of the Black Knives, whose mother sleeps with the Vicarius who oversees Rome’s business. Everyone is out for themselves and through it all shines greed.

With Rome’s hold beginning to crumble the wolves are braying at the coastlines, the Saxons, Hiberni, Scotti, and more all want a piece of the land. Justinus Coelius, Dux Britannorum patrols the edges of Rome. He must deal with idiots like the Count of the Saxon Shore and hardened warriors like Niall Mugmedon, High King of Tara.

When the Emperor dies, Stilicho is recalled and Britannia is left open to the marauding hoards, can a Hero of the Wall still be a Hero against such odds? And who will be left to tell the children the tales of Britannia?

This is a grand finale to the series, there are a lot of characters and many have several names and titles which increase the cast vastly and can make for a confusing read at times. I read a paperback version and there is a glossary of Roman terms at the back and a brief map of Britannia which I would have loved to have more details on. The last quarter of the book was superb with a tense set of events to draw the series to an end.

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Rosie’s Book review Team #RBRT Noelle reviews Britannia: The Wall by Richard Denham

Today we have a review from Book review Team Member Noelle, she blogs at


Noelle chose to read and review Britannia: The Wall by Richard Denham


Here is her review.

The year is AD 367 and four Roman soldiers of different age and rank return to their fort after hunting for deer to feed their garrison. They find everyone at the fort slaughtered, horses taken and food pillaged. Their fort is one of many along Hadrian’s Wall, a defensive fortification built by Romans in AD 122 and separating Britannia – the furthest extent of Roman rule – into a north and a south. North of the Wall are a dozen wild peoples, while south of the Wall there is Roman rule and an uneasy peace with other tribes living there. The four soldiers are 19 year old Leocadius, a foot soldier who is a womanizer and braggart; Vitalis, also a foot soldier, who is two years younger and still in reality a boy untried in battle; Semisallis Paternus, who has a wife and child living at another fort; and Justinus, a phlegmatic circitor or cavalry non-commissioned officer, who at 30 years old considered an old timer and is their leader by rank. Horrified by what they find, they decide not to bury the dead but are led by Justinus to the next nearest fort, in the hopes of finding reinforcements. There they find the same scene, but Paternus’ wife and son are not among the dead. The soldiers follow along the road between the forts, finding more slaughter and raiding, while heading south to a major town in the region. When they stop to rest by a cold stream, they are nearly discovered by the raiders, tall blond men riding Roman cavalry horses and speaking an unknown language. What were Saxons doing in Britannia?

Thus begins Britania -The Wall, an historical novel which has excitement, a good amount of brutality and gore, as befits the times, and wonderful historical detail and content. The authors have created an accurate world of Britannia at the times: the tribes and their characteristics, the organization and leadership both within the Roman army and the settlements, the gods and religious practices, as well as the living conditions. They are especially effective in the description of ancient Londinium, which would evolve through the centuries into the London we know.

The soldiers discover that the destruction of the raid was actually carried out by an army made up of many tribes, using Roman fighting techniques, and led by a giant of a man wearing a distinctive silver helmet, who is called Valentinus. There is a mystery running through the story of how these four soldiers became heroes of the Wall, how the Wall is rebuilt, how Londinium is fortified against attack: who is this elusive, charismatic leader? And when will Valentinus and his unholy alliance of Picts, Saxons, and Scots attack again?

This is a book for an audience of male readers of historical fiction; while I enjoyed it, it is not something a woman would pick up at first glance unless she was enamoured of that time and area, as I am. The major drawback to the novel is the Latin terms used are not defined. I took four years of Latin and even translated a portion of Caesar’s Gallic Wars, but I still had to look up a lot of terms along the way, which took me away from the story. I strongly suggest a glossary of terms, which will open the book to a larger readership.

The authors have created real and engaging characters in the four soldiers and provide us with lyrical and colourful descriptions of the times and society in which they live. I do recommend this book as an historical novel of substance, and I look forward to the next volume in the series.