A good result of reading historical fiction is that it drives me to the history books out of curiosity, something that my school years were not able to accomplish. Reading a book like "The Sword of Carthage", in high school, would have not only taught me something, but would have whet my appetite for history in general. I felt the same way when reading Conn Iggulden's series on the Roman Empire.
The Punic Wars were fought between the Carthaginian and the Roman Empires several hundred years BC. Rome was all about military might and conquest as their empire was expanding. Carthage was about trade and commerce and when it came to conflict, they hired mercenaries. The story revolves around a young man whose military heritage is squelched by a wealthy merchant father. He somehow manages to fulfill his dream of being a soldier and ultimately played a pivotal roll in the third Punic war when the Romans laid siege to Carthage. A very interesting element to this story is the introduction of elephants onto the battle field. The tough and disciplined Roman Legionaries were terrified of the huge beasts and it lead to their defeat in a pivotal battle.
The author realistically portrays life in Carthage with all the religion and political intrigue playing a large roll. The story is captivating, but I found the poor editing, spelling, and grammatical errors a distraction. Apparently this is something that is all to evident in many eBooks. I have come across this problem several times, but this one is bad. There were times when I had to re-read a page to understand the intent of the words. That is not good.
Cleaned up, this would be a better novel. Otherwise, it was a good read and held my attention well. I would probably read other novels written by Vaughn Heppner but he is no Conn Iggulden, a true master of Historical Fiction.
3 1/2 stars