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Damion Hunter

Barbarian Princess
Ballantine, 1982


Barbarian Princess, book two of Hunter's thoroughly researched and vividly told Centurion trilogy, was originally entitled Cohort Commander. The story follows the half-brothers Correus and Flavius from their post with the Eighth Legion Augusta in Germania to their new postings with the Second Legion Augusta at Isca (Caerleon) in Britain. When Flavius is captured and tortured, everyone but Correus gives him up for dead. The former slave rescues his half-sibling, receiving high honors for his effort. Flavius, no longer able to serve in the legions because of the maiming he suffered, is relegated to a government desk job while Correus continues his glorious military career. Heartache and tragedy follow Correus as he leaves Britain, visits the villa where he grew up and, eventually, finds himself in Pompeii on the day Vesuvius erupts. Although the apparatus in this text is not quite as extensive as in the first book, The Centurions, there are still plenty of wonderful aids for the reader. The formatter includes a map of Roman Britain and a list of characters, along with a short description of who's who. A glossary (pp. 377-380) once again helps out with unfamiliar terms. Additional figures within the text include an overview and reconstruction of the legionary fort at Isca, sketches of various inhabitants of Britain in war and non-war dress, uniforms for Roman soldiers of various ranks in Britain, a map showing the location of Pompeii, and a cross-section of Vesuvius that shows Pompeii's proximity to the volcano. Hunter's riveting prose makes you feel as if you are actually living and fighting alongside Correus. Seldom has a text brought archaeological finds to life so well. Hunter accurately portrays all aspects of Roman life and the lives of the other peoples who found themselves inside and on the edge of the Roman empire. Although out of print and nearly impossible to find in used bookstores, this text is one that every fan of Roman fictionshould own. Ballantine should definitely issue a reprint. - Linda A. Malcor 10/99

- Linda A. Malcor, 10/1/1999

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