Review of HIDE AND SIDHE by J. E. Bruce
BOOK II: A CENTURION IN THE LAND OF THE FAE
BooksForABuck.com, August 2012
The fate of the earth, according to his Tuatha masters, depends on Arrius Marcus Niger (Arri) and his legion defeating the enemy in battle. Arri has trained his men, built a powerful Roman-style legion, complete with engines of destruction and even a small cavalry, and is ready to battle, but what happens next? Have he and his legion been abandoned on a distant world. Given the way the Tuatha have played with his memories and his will, is it coincidence that nobody ever spoke to him about what after the battle, or that he never thought to ask?
When he gets his first look at the "enemy," Arri and his legionaires have more questions. Clearly they're outnumbered--another lie. Clearly, too, their enemy was seen as disposable by their masters. Which brings up the question, is the battle really just butchery in preparation for hungry aliens to dine.
Now that he's away from his Tuatha masters, now that the tampering of his brain has finally stopped, Arri realizes he has more to worry about than a single battle against human foes. His Tuatha masters provided him only a few weeks supply of food, how will his men survive after that. His Tuatha masters sent an all-male army. How will they react when they learn their "enemy" includes hundreds of women? The biggest worry, though, is that the battle was no secret and humans are a much-desired prey.
Author J. E. Bruce (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of speculative fiction by Bruce) continues the adventure she began with SNAKESTONE AND SWORD. Bruce really brings the Roman legion to life, with believable use of the weapons and tactics that once conquered our world and might now conquer Arri's new world. Of course, in our world, the Romans never faced flesh-eating aliens in space ships or modern weapons. Far more than a purely military adventure, however, HIDE AND SIDHE digs deep into the personality of a man who makes himself responsible for the survival of the human species on a new world.
Four StarsReviewed 8/01/12
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