Tribune of Rome by Robert Fabbri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've never really considered myself a historical fiction fan but I have read a great number of historical FANTASY novels. I may be prejudiced in favor of magic, it's true, but can you blame me?
One positive benefit of reading a regular historical fiction novel, however, is the focus. Events and character establishment are of a much higher priority and it shows.
The Roman world.
Vespasian, set several decades into anno Domini, establishes himself in proper YA style. It includes a bit of political intrigue, travel, and a great deal of Roman Legionary action. All told, the tale is crisp and I have to admit I got into the action sequences a lot more than the more emotional, personal sequences. Indeed, it took about a third of the book before I truly got invested in the tale, and not fully invested until near the end.
I'm not saying it was a bad book by any stretch, however. It is, in my limited historical fiction experience, a properly good example of how it should be carried off. (I'm not completely ignorant of the field.)
However, if I were to compare it to the fields I'm much more conversant with, such as Epic Fantasy, et al., it shares a lot of similarities. An I mean, a LOT of similarities. It's almost as if there's really not much difference at all aside from holding oneself to historical accuracy versus adding a little magic-spice.
In other words, it's a matter of VERY specific taste. An objective reader of styles would be very hard-pressed to see the difference if they either A: had no knowledge of the history or B: believed that reality wasn't all as we're meant to believe it is.
Just some food for thought. :)
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