The Forgotten Legion: (The Forgotten Legion Chronicles No. 1) - Ben Kane I have to confess I only took this out from my library as an audio book because of the reader who was Michael Praed whom I had a not so adolescence crush on since Robin of Sherwood.

"Romulus and Fabiola are twins, born into slavery after their mother is raped by a drunken nobleman. At thirteen years old they are sold - Romulus to gladiator school, Fabiola into prostitution, where she will catch the eye of one of the most powerful men in Rome. Tarquinius is an Etruscan, a warrior and soothsayer, born enemy of Rome, but doomed to fight for the Republic in the Forgotten Legion. Brennus is a Gaul, his entire family killed by the Romans, and he rises to become one of the most famous and feared gladiators of his day. The lives of these characters are bound and interwoven in an odyssey which begins in a Rome riven by political corruption and violence, but ends far away, at the very border of the known world, where the tattered remnants of a once-huge Roman army - the Forgotten Legion - will fight against overwhelming odds, and the three men will meet their destiny."

The most interesting part for me was the set piece of the Battle of Carrhae that ended he ill-fated military expedition of Marcus Licinius Crassus against the Parthians.

On a flat plain in the middle distance sat the Parthian army, a formation nearly a mile across. Their appearance distorted by the haze, thousands of men on horseback waited patiently for the Romans. Huge, brightly coloured banners swirled in the hot air,
making them appear even more alien. The noise of pounding drums and clanging bells reached the legions as signallers relayed messages to and fro.

It was an immensely intimidating sight for the exhausted Roman soldiers. 225 sunburnt faces went pale and oaths were spat. More than one mercenary looked west to the Euphrates and safety.

'Jupiter's balls!' swore Brennus.

Pacy, racy writing with good storyline, interesting characters that are compelling and a thoroughly enjoyable read...sorry I mean listen.