In November I made a few connections and some new friends. One of those is the young author Daniel Ottalini. It was during a promotion of steampunk novelists. At least one of which I already knew, Wendy Callahan. I was very much intrigued by the story line Daniel presented for his contributions to the sale.
The first of his novels that I read was Brass Legionnaire. Without giving too much away, Brass finds us in mid 19th Century Europe. The Roman Empire has not faded into history, instead it thrives. Young Julius joins the Roman army to help make a better life for his little sister – against the wishes of his parents. There he makes friends with other young legionnaires that bring all sorts of new thoughts and concepts to his life. One of those young friends is the younger son of the Emperor, Constantine.
After learning how to fight, learning how to survive, and learning to be loyal to more than just a concept, the young legionnaires and their tribune become an elite force in a new section of the Roman army – essentially paratroopers without the parachutes. They learn to fight not only on land but in the air through the Imperial Air Legions.
Their mettle is soon to be tested when a nefarious plot puts Julius’s home and family in danger, as well as the heart of the Empire. You’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out what happens.
For a first novel, Daniel tells a good story with lots of detail, action, and character building. Being a first novel, it is a little rough in places. From the perspective of my editor’s eye, very few glaring errors made it into the ebook version that I read. All in all, I enjoyed the book and slid quickly into the second of the saga, Copper Centurion.
SPOILER ALERT – Do not read further if you haven’t first read Brass Legionnaire.
Copper Centurion picks up several months after the Battle of Brittenberg. Julius has been elevated to Centurion and Constantine has slowly adjusted to being Caesar Primus. The Empire is plotting their revenge against the rebels and tribes of the Nortlanders for the destruction of Brittenberg and the decimation of the Empire’s strength in the Senate.
Aboard the airship of Captain Alexandros the men of XIII Germania’s 13th Cohort, under the command of Constantine, have become veterans of war. They are joined in their efforts by Senatora Octavia, the daughter of one of the greatest Senators of the Empire. Their mission is to bring justice to the Nortlanders for their part in the rebellion that nearly destroyed Brittenberg and to bring the rebel leader, Corbus, back to Rome, dead or alive.
You’ll be drawn into battle, political intrigue on multiple fronts, a bit of romance, the bravado of young soldiers, and the never dying quest for revenge for the loss of one’s family. Julius and his cohort face death over and over. Constantine finds that the Nortlanders are just as adept at intrigue has his Roman brothers. Octavia puts herself on the line to prove herself to her father and to the Senate. Corbus finds himself engulfed in a much different war than he had planned within the walls of Midgard.
Throughout the second book in the saga, Daniel builds his characters even more than he had in the first. Bringing a clearer, better thought out character to the reader with each turn of the page. His style of each chapter coming from the perspective of a particular character is not unique, but the way he works it…well, it is quite clear that each character has their own eyes on the situation as it unfolds.
I look forward to the third book!