For fans of the movie Gladiator comes this bloody account of the clashing of civilizations, as Attila the Hun, "The Scourge of God," struggles to overthrow the Roman Empire.
The Roman Empire is weakening. In 367 AD, approximately eight years after the great battle at Hadrian's Wall, Roman garrisons begin to hear rumors of barbarian tribes massing to the north. By 449 AD, Attila, the ruler of the Huns, has become the continent's most powerful monarch, his reputation in battle earning him the title "The Scourge of God."
Anticipating an imminent attack by the Huns, Roman leaders negotiate with one of Attila's lieutenants, convincing him to play the part of assassin. He is joined on his mission by a Roman citizen, Jonas, an ambassador dispatched to negotiate a peace treaty with the Huns. When the plot is discovered, Jonas becomes a hostage, forced to fight for his captors if he wishes to remain alive. But he soon learns that Attila intends to conquer Rome itself, and is caught between two mighty empires, both poised for one of the greatest conflicts the world has ever seen. Jonas, knowing his life could be forfeit, has the potential to tip the battle in either direction––and his decision will alter the face of Western civilization.
For readers of historically nuanced thrillers and adventure stories by authors like Bernard Cornwell and Colleen McCullough.
For readers interested in Roman and Barbarian culture and warfare.
William Dietrich's The Scourge of God does well with both fact and fancy. It's a romance in the original meaning of the term: lots of adventure, swashbuckling, maidens in distress, magic swords and so on. Still, it manages to be surprisingly accurate in its depiction of the waning days of the Roman empire, the character of Attila and even some of the wildest events, which sound as if they were made up but are not.