Saturday, February 6, 2010

Book Review: Attila by William Napier

I've always enjoyed reading about the Roman empire, the dawn of civilization and one of the mightiest empire to ever exists holds so many varied and intriguing stories. William Napier's Attila is set during the twilight of mighty Rome. When emperors represented the worst of Rome's vices and the rise of barbarians were quickly overtaking the land.

Focused on one of history's most famous and notorious figures, Napier's fictionalized version of Attila's life begins when he is still a young boy, held as a hostage to ensure continued support of the Huns. From the start Attila is the source of much friction within the Roman elite and among the other hostages. It follows him on his incredible journey back to his people.

Publishers Synopsis:

The first in a stunning epic trilogy about the rise and fall of one of history's greatest villains.

It’s the dawn of the 5th century AD and the Roman Empire teeters on the edge of the abyss. Rumors abound of a new power rising in the east, a barbarous nation of horse-warriors known as the Huns, striking terror in border tribes with brutal force. And now they have a new leader, one of the most ruthless in history. His name is Attila, or ‘the Scourge of God.’ Only one man stands against him: Aetius, Master-General, known as ‘The Last of the Romans’.

And so begins a legendary saga of warfare, lust and power, which brought the civilized world to its knees. It is a story of two men: one who wanted to destroy the world, and one who fought the ultimate battle to save it.

To read the first 2 chapters now, visit:

The synopsis begins by calling Attila a great villain, but at least in this book Napier presents him as very driven and dedicated; capable of being very noble and caring. It was an exciting read and very consuming to follow him as he struggles against Roman oppression, battles with fury against seeming insurmountable odds, and makes his way through many miles and hardships back to his native Hun territory. Yet once he finally reaches his home, he finds that yet more heartache and challenges await him there.

I found Attila to be a great historical fiction read. It felt tailor made for a History Channel special, very authentic feeling. I was afraid the narrative might be filled with battles, but the one scene included is very climatic and a moving point in the story. Most of the story is very character driven.

It was very different than most of the historical fiction I read, which tend to feature female protagonists, but still one of the best historical fiction novels I've read in a long time. I highly reccommend it to anyone interested in Roman history. I plan on purchasing and reading the remaining books in the series and keeping them as part of my personal library. This is one book that won't be donated to the library and will gain a spot on my bookshelves.

Thank you to Good Reads, for facilitating the book giveaway that enabled me to receive a copy of this book.

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