Bellatrix (Legion XXII #2), by Simon Turney
Warrior and combat medic of the Twenty Second Legion, Titus Cervianus, must fight the armies of the fabled Warrior Queen in this blistering new Roman adventure from Simon Turney.
Titus Cervianus is no ordinary soldier. And the Twenty Second is no ordinary legion...
Egypt. 25 BC. Titus Cervianus marches into the unknown as he and the Twenty Second Legion contend with the armies of the Warrior Queen of Kush. The Kushites and the Egyptians are against the Roman presence in their lands – and Cervianus and his comrades must brace themselves for a furious onslaught.
My Review (4.75 out of 5 )
Bellatrix is the new proposal and the second book in the Legion XXII duology, by Simon Turney. We are going to continue following Titus Cervianus, capsarius of the Legion XXII during the foolish incursion on the Kush territory, in order to take down the warrior queen Bellatrix. A mission that will put to test the strength and even the convictions of the legionaries.
Soon we get to experience how this expedition into the Kushite desert is going to be a tough test for the Legion. In addition to the inherent danger of being in enemy territory, deadly threats such as the own heat and scorpions become a problem for our group of soldiers. We get to experiment all these sensations through the fantastic prose of Simon Turney, making you feel as if you were one more of the group.
Even after taking control of Napata, things don't become easier for the Twenty-Second Legion. Without spoiling anything, they get to experiment in their flesh with how the Kushites behave with their enemies, and the situation gets even more difficult due to Vitalis' hubris, something that starts provoking conflict among the legionaries.
Cervianus is such an interesting character, a complex one, and who is developed even more through the story; how he has evolved after the campaign, and how some friendships have appeared, the most prominent the one he has with Ulyxes, his tentmate. We get to see him in several situations, taking care of his mates, and doing his labour as capsacius; despite being a foreigner in Aegyptus' lands, is a person who has developed a certain respect for their religious customs, especially if we take in account the dreams that haunt him during all the journey.
Turner does an excellent job showing a relatively unknown period of Rome's history, as the campaigns in the Aegiptus' lands, portraying different aspects of soldiers' life. Personally, I enjoyed so much the passages describing the medical procedures Cervinius is forced to practice (might be a little bit biased due to my IRL formation). Without entering into spoilers, the author shows his narrative strength, as it covers a certainly wide range of scenes with great precision.
I enjoyed so much reading Bellatrix. Historical fiction fans can be assured that this novel is excellent, and that the historical accuracy is something that has been carefully treated; and for fans of Rome's history, this book is a must. Simon Turner has written a great novel, making the reader a participant in the Twenty-Second Legion adventure.
Simon lives with his wife, children, rabbits and dog in rural North Yorkshire. Having spent much of his childhood visiting historic sites with his grandfather, a local photographer, Simon fell in love with the Roman heritage of the region, beginning with the world famous Hadrian’s Wall. His fascination with the ancient world snowballed from there with great interest in Egypt, Greece and Byzantium, though his focus has always been Rome. A born and bred Yorkshireman with a love of country, history and architecture, Simon spends most of his rare free time travelling the world visiting historic sites, writing, researching the ancient world and reading voraciously.
Simon’s early career meandered along an arcane and eclectic path of everything from the Ministry of Agriculture to computer network management before finally settling back into the ancient world. During those varied years, Simon returned to university study to complete an honours degree in classical history through the Open University. With what spare time he had available and a rekindled love of all things Roman, he set off on an epic journey to turn Caesar’s Gallic War diaries into a novel accessible to all. The first volume of Marius’ Mules was completed in 2003 and has garnered international success, bestseller status and rave reviews, spawning numerous sequels. Marius’ Mules is still one of Simon’s core series and although Roman fiction features highly he now has Byzantine, Fantasy and Medieval series, too, as well as several collaborations and short stories in other genres.
Now, with in excess of 30 novels available and 5 awaiting release, Simon is a prolific writer, spanning genres and eras and releasing novels both independently and through renowned publishers including Canelo and Orion. Simon writes full time and is represented by MMB Creative literary agents.
Look out for Roman military novels featuring Caesar’s Gallic Wars in the form of the bestselling Marius’ Mules series, Roman thrillers in the Praetorian series, set during the troubled reign of Commodus, adventures around the 15th century Mediterranean world in the Ottoman Cycle, a series of Historical Fantasy novels with a Roman flavour called the Tales of the Empire, medieval religious action in the forms of the Knights Templar, and imperial biographies of the Damned Emperors.