Friday, September 03, 2004

The Misplaced Legion - Harry Turtledove: A Review

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A Roman Legion is fighting a band of Celts when somehow some magic spell is activated that transports the Legion (plus one Celt) to some strange new world. The Legion and Celt are forced to cooperate to stay alive and not knowing how to get back or even if it is possible, the Legion takes service in with the local empire as a mercenary band. They are, of course, some of the finest fighters that this Empire has seen and they know battle tactics that the world has never seen.

This is the premise of "The Misplaced Legion." There are, I understand, ties to the Byzantine Empire in how this novel is constructed. If one has knowledge of that era then perhaps this novel will resonate more, but coming into "The Misplaced Legion" without that knowledge of history I was able to appreciate Turtledove's craft just as well.

This new Empire of Videssos is one where magic works and is fairly common. Marcus Scaurus, the Legion Commander finds himself mixed up in the politics of Videssos simply by being a talented mercenary commander and being for a foreign world. He finds himself in opposition to an evil sorcerer and helps lead Videssos against this sorcerer.

Much of this novel deals with the Romans in a new world and their adjustments, but with the battles against the sorcerer and the Yezda (the people the sorcerer belongs to, and leads) the storyline is one that looks to stretch across multiple volumes. This was a very interesting beginning to the Videssos Cycle and while I had never read any of Turtledove's work before, this is a series i plan on investing time into.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You definitely should keep reading, the rest of the books in the legion cycle are all great fun.