This is Book Two of 'Angelos and the Dragon Wars'.
When I dive into a series part way I'm always looking for the story to be satisfying in itself, even as I know that plenty of exciting events have taken place before and will do in the rest of the series. I don't want it to be inexplicable just because I haven't read the first one, nor do I want every plot strand to be left only partially resolved (or worst of all just getting started) as the author retains the most interesting parts for the next books in the series. I thought it less likely this would happen here as the first book in the series was located in a different culture entirely.
There's an art to crafting each book in a series so that it is complete enough to satisfy without shutting down too many of the avenues that could be interesting in future stories. I haven't read Book One 'Valour of the Spirit People', so I was pleased that the Byzantine historical location was quickly established and that the key motivations for the main characters were thoughtfully laid out in a way that told me, as a new reader, exactly what I needed to know without ruining any of the preceding action of Book One for me. As a reader, I was told just what I needed to know to get started with the story but no more, and that's precisely how it should be.
I tend to read more straight fantasy of the epic swords and sorcery variety rather than historical epics, but I enjoy writers such as David Gemmell who do both so I did like this book. It's always good to go off into new genres and try something different, and this left me keen to explore more works by the same author. The historical detail was well presented all the way through.
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)