Siege: Edge of Empire is Alistair Tosh’s debut, and the novel does not disappoint. Packed with explosive dialogue and demonstrating the claustrophobia of battle, Tosh has created the first title in what promises to be a thrilling series.
Firstly, we meet Lucius Faenius Felix, commander of the First Nervana, and learn that he has been manipulated out of his family estate after his father’s unexplained suicide. He forms a bond with Cai, a soldier. The two warriors remain pivotal in Siege as we see a fraternal and humorous relationship form between them.
The military history behind the drama has clearly well researched by Tosh. After the Nervana learn of a newly formed and potentially threatening tribe, the Novantae, Lucius and Cai have to infiltrate enemy lines to gather intelligence about their next move.
Tosh describes the emotional toll that war has on warriors, as well as explaining physical ailments. The war-hungry figure of Cai is offset by his love interest, Alyn, the widow of the previous First Spear. Cai wrestles with his emotions as he wonders what fate will bring Alyn and her son Beren. Furthermore, after a gruelling battle, Cai at last comes head-to-head with Barra, war-chief of the Novantae. We see Cai is a human as well as heroic character.
This novel will undoubtedly appeal to readers of Simon Scarrow and Ben Kane. Siege: Edge of Empire is a well-written, gripping tale where loyalties are tested, the seduction of power is prevalent and blood-spattered battles reign supreme.
Camilla Bolton is an Assistant Editor at Aspects of History.