This is the first in a series of five books that set out to tell the action packed story of Julius Caesar's protracted battles in Gaul modern France and Belgium and his struggle to force the Roman Republic to abandon its obsession with ancient and superstitious traditions, a system of government that favoured only its racist, corrupt and all powerful nobility. Caesar, a man way ahead of his time, was determined to change the Republic into a multi¬cultural meritocracy, fit to govern its growing empire for the good of all its disparate peoples. Caesar's Tribune is a fictional character who is also way ahead of his time but in a very different way...
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Robert Paterson reviewed Caesar's Tribune (The Rutilius Journals Book 1) A hidden master revealed at last December 10, 2014John Timbers and this series are a wonderful surprise for anyone that enjoys this genre. A surprise in that he is not we known but deserves to be.
The series is based loosely on Caesar's own account of the Gallic wars. Timbers has come up with a unique perspective. Our hero is modern man who awakes as a Roman. He pulls this off very well. What this plot device then allows us a unique point of view.
Robin E. Levin reviewed Caesar's Tribune (The Rutilius Journals Book 1) A Chimera August 30, 2014Caesar's Tribune is a work of historical fantasy. Unlike most time travel/time slip novels, where the protagonist's body and mind remain united as he or she plunges through the time warp, John Timbers has created a sort of chimera, where the mind of a modern age British soldier, John Michael Oakwood, takes over the body of head-injured first century B.C. military tribune, Marcus Rutilius Robura, as he lays unconscious on a battlefield in Illyria with a head injury.
Imagine waking up and finding yourself in the midst of Roman soldiers chattering away in Latin. They bring you on a stretcher to a medical tent lit only by oil lamps. The soldiers and slaves are not unfriendly, in fact some of them seem delighted to see that you've survived! But you don't recognize any of them and have no idea about life of the person they believe you to be.
In a remarkably short time Oakwood finds himself speaking fluent Latin, and finds that those activities that would be second nature to a Roman military tribune like Marcus Rutilius, such as horsemanship and swordsmanship are now second nature to himself. He finds himself immersed in a life that includes devoted slaves, Quintus, a best friend from childhood, patrician parents, a twin sister and even a beautiful fiancee. His fellow Romans attribute his deficiencies to amnesia caused by his head injury-warlike as they were, Romans were no strangers to mental problems caused by head injuries. Marcus' twin sister, Rutilia, however, knows that there is something more to it than merely a head injury because she possesses a twin's intuitive insight into his mind, and even shares his dreams. But even she is not capable of truly understanding what has happened to her brother.
The military brass out in Illyria soon find Marcus unfit for service and order him back to Rome. He finds that his family is totally supportive and he falls madly in love with Marcia, his fiancée. His twin sister Rutilia falls in love with his friend Quintus and they have a double wedding.
Marcus Rutilius Senior happens to be a relative and a partisan of the up and coming Julius Caesar, and he persuades our Mike/Marcus chimera to join Caesar's team. Caesar, who has just been elected Consul and intends to do his next year's proconsulship in Gaul, sends Marcus and his new wife Marcia, as well as Quintus and Rutilia, to Massilia (modern Marseilles) on a supposed honeymoon, but actually to set up an intelligence operation on his behalf. Mike/Marcus is very successful in getting the co-operation of both critically placed Gauls and Greeks and is able to provide Caesar with invaluable information about goings-on in Gaul, including the intention of the Helvetians to leave their Swiss homeland and migrate westward through Gaul to find a new territory for themselves-something that Caesar must prevent.
John Timber's book is well written and engaging. He has thorough knowledge of Roman customs, practices and history.
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