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Thomas A. Timmes, a 28 year active duty veteran of the U.S. Army, holds the Bronze Star for Valor and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for combat in Vietnam. He served with the 3rd and 8th Mechanized Infantry Divisions in Germany during the Cold War as an Infantry Platoon Leader, Company Commander, and Battalion and Brigade Operations Officer. Tom has extensive experience with Military Psychological Operations as a Team Leader, an Executive Officer, and Battalion Commander of an airborne unit. Tom also served on the Department of the Army Staff and the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. After retiring as a Colonel, Tom joined the Office of the Secretary of Defense and was involved with the planning, deployment, and execution of numerous overseas military operations. He worked in the Department of Defense for 42 years including 24 years in the Pentagon. Tom earned military and civilian awards including the Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, holds a Master’s Degree in History, and is a member of the National History Honor Society. In 2013, he was designated a Distinguished Member of the Psychological Operations Regiment. Tom is married and has five children and nine grandchildren.
on June 17, 2014 :
A sweeping, engaging work of historical fiction that will please any Roman history fan and especially those who enjoy an authentic voice to their military maneuverings. It is as close to being in a battle as you possible can be without actually being there. I felt like I was transported back in time and witnessing history unfolding firsthand. I know that this book was a mix of fact and fiction, and I have to say that I wasn’t always clear where that line was drawn. But I didn’t care… it was excellent. I think that a book like this would be great to be read in college class as supplemental material… I know I learned more about the time period of the Second Punic Wars reading this than I ever knew before. A book that can entertain as it educates is very rare indeed. Highly recommend.
(reviewed 27 days after purchase)
on June 13, 2014 :
I am of mixed feelings of, “Legio XVII: Roman Legion at War” by Thomas Timmes. But fist off I pay my deepest respects to the author, a 28 year Army Veteran. He has a great talent for this genre and I was thoroughly impressed with the level of research and descriptions that went into this novel. It was superb. However, I found the pacing to be uneven, and even quite slow at times with longer chunks of ‘telling’ narrative text that ground down the speed. The beginning started off quite slowly in my opinion, and it wasn’t later (about 50% in) where I felt fully invested. There was too much of a ‘detachment’ there that made it hard to connect with any one particular character and root for them or care about their fate. We see things through the POV of Manius at first, however he isn’t a sympathetic character that we are identifying with… he is just more who we are ‘watching’. So for me there was definitely an emotional element lacking from the book. However, other than that, I found the writing to be tight, vivid, confident, and strong. There were some minor editing things, but nothing too terrible that prevented my enjoyment. I feel like this is one of those books where just describing it won’t do it justice. You need to read it to fully experience it for yourself. Be warned – you are in for quite a ride, and one you won’t soon forget.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
on June 10, 2014 :
Legio XVII: Roman Legion at War” is well-researched and genuinely interesting. A great story that would fit nicely amongst the shelves in any major bookstore. I loved how I felt like I learned something that I never knew before, lots of things, actually. And while military fiction isn’t normally my thing, I’ve really liked movies like “Gladiator” and books like “Unbroken” and while I know aren’t the same exactly, this book kind of reminded me of a weird blend between the two… plus lots of battles and fighting. I’m not sure what was “fact” and what was “fiction” and I suppose that’s the point. The descriptions were amazing – you can feel the heat on your skin, the dust in your eyes, the smell of blood and the stench of death around you. And even though I was unfamiliar with some of the terminology and phrasing, history really came alive in these pages. The maps and drawings were really helpful, as were the appendices at the end. There were some confusing time jumps and at times I thought it almost sounded like a ‘report’ of events as opposed to a novel. I’m not sure if the author will write more in the future (I hope so!) because he is really very good, I just think it could have benefitted from more dialogue and conversations moving the story forward as opposed to so much narrative. But it was really very good and I’m going to recommend to my father who is a Roman history fanatic!
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on June 08, 2014 :
What an absolutely amazing novel! I admit that this isn’t necessarily my area of expertise but it clearly is the author’s, Thomas A Timmes’ area! From his impressive biography he obviously has the background suitable for writing about battles and strategies, and he backs up his story with actual events to, as he puts it, “blend authentic Roman history during the Second Punic War with a supportive fictionalized Legion into a historical novel that allows the reader to accompany a Legion at war from the planning phase to the actual battles.” And we do feel like we are right in the thick of things, on the battlefields and in the characters’ heads. And there are A LOT of them, but the perspectives of what’s going on is only shown from a handful. And there is a handy appendix at the end worth referencing. I think that anyone who likes military history or world history for that matter will greatly enjoy this book. It is quite long but very worth it.
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)