Caesar’s Sword II Siege of Rome by David Pilling


The grandson of Arthur, Coel, is put through the wringer by the author in this the second volume in the Caesar’s Sword series.  If it isn’t vengeful people in Justinian’s court, it’s Vandals in Africa, if it isn’t them it’s the Goths in Italy, if it isn’t them, it’s people in Belisarius own household, all of them want him dead  Make no mistake, Coel has a lot of enemies.  David Pilling as wrought an exciting tale that follows the famous General Belisarius who is given the task of retaking Rome from the Ostrogoths who have held it for decades but a Vandal rebellion in Africa must be dealt with first.  Taking Rome from the Goths is accomplished but now the trick is to keep it as the city is under siege by 120,000 Goths.  The author is once again in top form as he gives us a scintillating story of the genius of Belisarius while intertwining the trial and tribulations of Coel who is not immune to outside forces despite being an officer on Belisarius staff.  Descriptive, imaginative and replete with the glory of war and the machinations of behind the scene shenanigans of those who would bring Coel down, Siege of Rome is a worthy successor to The Red Death and will continue in book 3, Flame of the West. 5 stars.

About the author:

I’m an English writer and researcher, addicted to history for as long as I can remember. I spent much of my childhood dragging my long-suffering parents up and down the misted ruins of castles in Wales, and the medieval period has always held a particular fascination for me. I am also interested in the Roman period, the Dark Ages and the British Civil Wars of the 17th century.

My first published novel, Folville’s Law, followed the adventures of Sir John Swale during the dying days of Edward II’s catastrophic reign. It was followed by twelve mini-sequels.

My stand-alone novel, The Half-Hanged Man, was told from the perspective of three characters and focused on the mercenary Free Companies that plagued Christendom in the latter half of the 14th century.

The White Hawk (I) and (II) form part of a planned 4-part series set during The Wars of the Roses, and chronicle the trials and adventures of the Boltons, a family of minor Staffordshire gentry, as they attempt to survive this particularly bloody period of English history.

Caesar’s Sword tells the story of Coel ap Amhar, King Arthur’s bastard grandson, and his adventures in the glittering, lethal environment of Constantinople and the Late Roman Empire.

Fireship Press have just released Nowhere Was There Peace, a tale of espionage and power politics set during The Second Baron’s War, just after the Battle of Evesham.

I have also written a series of fantasy novels with my friend and co-writer, Martin Bolton.

All my novels are available as ebooks and paperbacks.


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The Red Death – Caesar’s Sword (I) by David Pilling


My experience with the Arthur story is somewhat limited.  Years ago I read and really enjoyed the Mary Stewart books and was subjected to the musical Camelot a few times as it was the wife’s favorite movie.  When I was introduced to David Pilling’s work I was interested in his book Soldier of Fortune, The Wolf Cub but when I saw that this one was about the grandson of Arthur and the sword carried by Arthur and Julius Caesar, I put aside my original intention and decided to read this series first.  The author chose the more Welsh version of the Arthurian legend and so his grandson, Coel, is the son of Amhar, the son who rebelled against Arthur and was slain by his father in battle.  After Arthur is slain, Britain becomes unsafe for Coel and his mother so they make their way, first to Frankia and then Constantinople in search for a better life, a type of existence that is elusive to say the least.  The story centers around Coel’s early life, how he struggles to survive as he pursues the sword that is his birthright, a sword that has become an intricate part of his being and has taken hold of his soul.

The author has given us a tale that is at once riveting and that gives a glimpse into the era under Justinian and his famous general, Belisarius as well as a not so flattering a picture of Theodora, the Empress.  This is indeed a strength of the author as he enables his characters to shine in all their glory or in their lack of humanity or somewhere in between.  The story plays out well, with enough plot twists and variety of actions and scenes along with a nice flair for descriptive narrative.  I was entranced from the beginning and will be sure to follow along Coel’s story in the next book in the series, Siege of Rome.  5 stars.

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