Once more into the chaos of the Roman Empires in the late 4th Century. Thrace is overrun with the Gothic horde of Fritigern, threatening to wrest the area away from the Eastern Empire and Emperor Valens. Will the Western Empire and it’s greedy boy emperor, Gratian, arrive in time to ensure a Roman victory or will nefarious doings doom Valens and the XI Claudia? In this, the fifth book of the series, Gordon Doherty, weaves a masterful tale of intrigue, persistence and soul damning obedience. By this time, we who have followed the exploits of the XI Claudia, know of the loyalty, love and fears of Pavo, Gallus, Sura and the rest (including the gastric outbursts of Quadratus). All of those things are put to the test in the dry, dusty and sweltering plains outside of Adrianople in a battle for the region. The lead up to the final outcome is a treat for the reader’s eyes as the author conjures up gut wrenching turmoil, both in his characters and in the minds of his audience. As for the final battle, well I must admit that it was hard to get through, though I must also admit that the fault of that lies in the fact that I was doing childcare for my three year old granddaughter while reading it and not with Mr. Doherty. The author has demonstrated once more his prowess at describing a battle field and the sights and sounds of the terror, bravery and the dying. A stellar entry into the author’s portfolio of exceptional historical fiction…5 stars.