Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"Amulet IV: Veni, Vidi, Vici" by Fredrik Nath

Amulet IV: Veni, Vidi, Vici
(Amulet Book 4)
by Fredrik Nath

Amulet IV: Veni, Vidi, Vici is the fourth book in Fredrik Nath's Amulet series. The author stops by today to share an excerpt from the book. You can also read my review. Also available: Amulet: The Caucasus Campaign, Amulet II: The Gallic War, and Amulet III: The Parthian Shot.

When Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, civil war comes to the Roman Republic. Against the backdrop of this violent struggle, Aulus Veridius Scapula is forced to help finance Caesar's army. When his son is kidnapped, he has to leave the army and pursue the abductors all the way to the Bosporan Kingdom where Pharnaces, son of the now dead Great King Mithridates, rules. In a desperate bid to free his son, Aulus becomes embroiled in the little king's politics and succumbs to the charms of Dynasis, the beautiful daughter of the little king. When Pharnaces moves south with his army, Aulus must follow with revenge on his mind. A story of battle, love and intrigue interwoven with the end of the Roman Republic.

I ran at him and he braced himself for the impact. He had his legs apart and he raised his shield. All I had was my short sword and no armour. How could I hope to kill this man-mountain of muscle and flesh?
It was his very act of bracing himself against my perceived attack, helping me. He stood still. I had learned long ago how in battle, to stand still is to wait to die and this man was like that. I was ten feet from him when I vaulted. I was not as fit as I should have been and my left side lets me down at times since the injury in Armenia but this time I flew. I landed on my feet in front of him. He seemed surprised. He took half a step backwards.
I knew I had one fast thrust to make and then he would be upon me. I put my life on the line this time. If I missed he would strike. A single blow. My life depended upon accuracy, not force. In a second he would wield his axe. In a second he would have hewn me in half. My gladius flashed in the sunlight. Straight at his face. A man wearing a helmet of Greek design is sometimes immune to arrows or immune to spears but an accurate strike with a thin bladed weapon is as keen as a razor cut.
It’s a matter of focus.
My blade scraped the right horizontal eye slit of his helmet as it entered. It moved so fast I knew no God could have been faster. I drew my blade away. With inhuman speed, I stepped backwards to stand six feet from my opponent. He stumbled forward. He staggered to his left. He went down on one knee. He was strong.
With a crash he landed lying face down, his helmet came away as he crumpled and I watched as it rolled with a clinking sound across the yellow flagstones to rest at the feet of the little King. I stepped back and watched as the pool of blood spread towards my sandals. Redness spurted still from his eye-socket and I saw his limbs shake and shiver in his little dance of death.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"This first person narrative draws you into the story, helping you feel every emotion and experience every doubt that drives Scapula as he tries to do the best he can for his family while events unfold around him that he can’t escape. This is an excellent story that transports the reader into the time clearly and emotionally. Great descriptions and the depth of and differences between the characters make them quite real. Amulet IV is extremely well written, thoroughly engaging and quite informative whether you have read the previous volumes or not – which you will certainly want to do after enjoying this one." ~ Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite Book Reviews
"... Amulet IV: Veni, Vidi, Vici is a well researched and immersive piece of historical fiction that any fan of the Roman Empire is certain to love." ~ K. C. Finn for Reader's Favorite Book Reviews
"Any reader who enjoys historical fiction, or just a great, adventurous read in general should absolutely pick up" ~ Tracey A Fischer for reader's Favorite Book Reviews
"Author of more than a dozen books, Fredrik Nath’s fervorous writing melds together the best of Kate Quinn and Ben Kane. Readers looking for a full plate of action, drama, historical context, and even a touch of romance need look no further than Amulet IV: Veni, Vidi, Vici’s robust storyline where characters come to life and one could easily assume were based on actual people alongside their non fictional historical counterparts - Caesar, Cicero, Mithridates, etc." ~ San Diego Book Review 2016
"If you’ve read any of Fred’s stuff, you’ll know he can tell a tale with the best of them, and this book kept me turning the pages from beginning to end. Amulet IV is a good read." ~ Simon Turney

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Enter the world of Aulus Veridius Scapula, soldier, killer, husband, and father - and now a rich man after inheriting from his father in the previous book. Aulus lives with his pregnant wife Hypsicratea and stepsons, Quintos and Bazes, in their new villa in Ariminium. This volume centers on the adventures of Aulus in his attempt to rescue a kidnap victim close to his heart. His story is interwoven with a fictionalized account of Julius Caesar's fight for control of the Roman Empire.
From the beginning, our narrator Aulus Veridius Scapula assumes a familiar, conversational tone, as though he is telling his story to friends over a few drinks. His tale is told with humor and self-deprecation, and he is able to paint a picture with a few choice words. The narrative is full of descriptions of Roman dwellings, food, clothing, as well as fights and bloody battles. I was glad for the dictionary function in the Kindle app for further clarification of unfamiliar terms. Through his actions, Aulus reveals himself to be a man of integrity, kindness, sympathy, generosity, and loyalty, and you will find yourself rooting for him throughout the story. In a continuing motif throughout the series, Aulus recovers the amulet he discarded at the end of his last battle, and its return brings him bad luck. Aulus once again unloads the amulet at the end of this book, but I'm sure it will find its way back to him in the next volume. A nice touch: each chapter begins with a quote by a Roman personality, some who actually appear as characters in the book.
Reminiscent of Wilbur Smith's River God series in both scale and historical detail, this is a rollicking adventure that is sure to capture your attention and imagination.

About the Author
Fred Nath is a full time Neurosurgeon. He has worked and lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Aberdeen to Edinburgh and Glasgow, finally settling in Middlesbrough, jewel of the North-east! He lives with his daughter, his three sons having grown up and flown the coop.
In his time, he has run twenty-five consecutive Great North Run half-marathons, trekked to 6000m in Nepal, crossed the highest mountain pass in the world and began writing like John Buchan, "because he ran out of penny-novels to read and felt he should write his own." Fred loves a good story which is why he writes.