Winner of the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Bronze Award for Fantasy
The empire has endured many centuries but is now threatened by multiple wars and a major rebellion in the South. A nobleman from an infamous family, an imperial legionary officer, a fighter, and a right proper bastard of a man, Captain Ben Stiger finds himself reassigned from a crack legion to the rebellion simmering in the South. Placed in command of a truly terrible company, the 85th Imperial Foot, he is unknowingly sent on a suicide mission to resupply an isolated outpost, the garrison of Vrell. Along the way he must rebuild his new company; gain the respect of the men he leads; survive an assassination attempt; and fight bandits, rebels, and an agent of an evil god.
His companions on this journey of discovery and adventure are one of the few remaining elven rangers and a paladin on a quest for the High Father. The battle to save the empire and the world begins here in the first book of this exciting new series.
©2015 Marc Alan Edelheit (P)2016 Podium Publishing
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Simon on 11-06-16

A Heady Mix of Gritty Legions and Classic Fantasy

This book ticks a lot of boxes for me because I like both military fiction and classic fantasy. Putting them together can be problematic but this is a fine example. It might prove to be a niche market. This is a book that reads first like a military history with a lot of the classic cornerstones of a commander building up a problem company from poor beginnings. Gradually though the fantasy element becomes more visible.

The legions are based largely on the Roman legions but certainly not completely with ranks and titles for example being drawn from more recent history. The story itself moves along at a decent pace as you would expect from an audiobook of less than eight hours. The last thirty five minutes is a free preview of the next book which at the time of writing is due out in about a month. The key characters feel very solidly grounded and I’m sure that their backgrounds will be further revealed as the series goes on.

I personally enjoyed the book enormously. The time very much flew by, I could almost feel a breeze from the imaginary pages as they turned rapidly before me. Military fiction enthusiasts will feel fairly comfortable if they can manage with alternate universe “Roman” Legions at least for the first part of the book. As the chapters go by though the fantasy element makes itself known and old shakers of the twenty-sided bones will recognise a Dungeons and Dragons vibe.

The closest thing I can recall reading like this is Taylor Anderson’s Destroyermen. The similarity being an historically savvy author throwing his military history into a fantasy world. This though is much faster-paced and uses more classic fantasy elements.

I really hope that people give this a chance. Those who revel in highly accurate military fiction rooted firmly in reality might not find this to their liking. People looking for very deep, epic modern fantasy along the lines of Brandon Sanderson could equally be frustrated. However, if the idea of some fairly fast-moving, well narrated, gritty military fiction pitched into a classical fantasy world appeals then jump in!

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6 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Walter on 17-09-17


There are LOTS of these kinds of books, but this one REALLY stands out from the crowd. It just rattles along at an incredible pace and many of the story arcs that you expect to last the whole book are played out over just a few pages, there is so much going on. There is deity intervention, non-humans and magic but the way they are handled is subtle and they easily slip into the alternative reality the author has built. I really can't recommend this enough.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By E. Atkinson on 25-10-16

Wonderful New spin on High Fantasy

I picked this up on a whim, Serendipity strikes again! The world is essentially historical Rome, late in the Empire. You are gradually introduced to an elf, then dwarves, then magic (which is very rare in this world)
Roman military tactics and procedures with just a little magic thrown in for spice. The other races and magic are there just enough to change it from being a Roman history story.
The author writes very well, his character creation and dialogue is wonderful (some historical anachronisms, like tobacco, but mostly wonderful and creatively consistent) You get a sense of the entire Roman world and how it influences the characters even though the story focuses on a tiny area and only a few. Expressively and dramatically written.

My only complaint is the speed and the pauses in the reading, but there is always the speed control in the Audible app, so problem solved.

I enjoyed the first one so much that upon finishing I immediately bought the other two, I became so engrossed in the story I was surprised when the second book ended, I paused only to write this review and then I am back into book three.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Chiefkent on 31-07-16


Audible tells me that I've listened to over 350 books over the past 12 months, (have optic neuritis), this book stands simply out over 98% of those books. The plot moves, the characters have appeal, the author seeds hints while weaving his tale and making us invested in Stiger. Mr. Edelheit leaves sufficient mystery regarding both why we have Romans with elves and who exactly is Stiger to whet our curiosity and wanting to listen more about what happens to him. Mr. Edelheit gets us wanting to invest ourselves into Stiger and his wayward company.

Mr. Brand's narration isn't quite up to Mr. Edelheit's prose, one can only hope that as he continues that he will become invested in Stiger and grows with the character.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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