Friday, September 11, 2015

The Soldier of Raetia

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM

Age: Adult
Category: Historical, romance, LGBTQIA+
Rating: 3 stars

Rosie Thinks: This story focuses on Manilus Dardanus, a soldier who is sent by his father to try to be sponsored by Cassius Valerian, a famous general with no heirs. Set in Ancient Rome, this story paints a vivid and accurate picture of the time, and the insights into daily military life, of the soldier and the officers, was fantastic - I'm an ancient history buff, and if you're interested in Ancient Rome, then I can't recommend this book enough. At the end, Heather Domin discusses what is real in the story and where her creative licence took control. The depth of research she put into this is huge, and her knowledge pays off.

However, this book isn't a study on Ancient Rome - rather, it is the story of Dardanus' develops from naive and idealistic into a man who is self-assured and confident is his own skills, on the battlefield and off it. It is also about the slow, steady relationship that is created between Dardanus and Valerian. While the beginning was slow, it set up the characters and action well, and by the time the plot truly began to move, I was hooked. The campaign was complex, but explained in a way that made it easy to follow. The climax was well thought out, with a villain that was unique and incredibly interesting. This story follows no pre-set cliches that are usually everywhere in the m/m genre, and I was super glad for that! There was no insta-lust or love - I can't even explain how much this made me happy. The two main characters didn't trip over their feet or become stunned when they met. Rather, their relationship was a slow burn that built on solid foundations of mutual respect, friendship and, eventually, love.

This book contained angst and passion enough to keep the romance-lover in me satisfied, while the plot was also enthralling. It is neither a story that is based around the legion or the romance - the balance of both of these made it stand out for me. Although I've mentioned Dardanus and Valerian a lot, the other characters are definitely worth a mention. Each of them had their own hopes and dreams; a personality of their own. They moved the plot along and helped with the main themes of the novel: trust, ambition, greed, and honour.


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