Darcy Against the Barbarians For Real
By Armando Roggero
Lulu, $5.99, 291 pages
Ancient Rome is a great place to put a Jane Austen story. Revenge of the Ninth is the story of how Hadrianus Domitius Marius got his start, taking advantage of a few lucky breaks to start his path down the glory road. He joins the Legionnaires, following his boyhood dream, and despite a few bumps at the beginning eventually becomes one of the finest of their number. He just needs to win a war in order to marry his love, and that may be a little more than even he is ready to do.
The biggest handicap this book has to overcome is its archaic style, where the point of view is just a step too far on the side of objectivity and dashes rather than quotes separate what is being said from what is being done. Although not a bad style for a more pensive tale, this is one where the action of its characters needed to be highlighted rather than their thoughts; the style tends to drag the story more than it should. Combined with the possible overuse of the Roman words and the reader quickly is bogged down.
However, if the reader can muddle through it, the story is actually worth it. There is a love story at its heart, and Hadrianus and Cornelia are definitely lovers worth following. The style gives it a nice Austenian polish, making for an interesting take on the normal blood and sandals stories that have been coming out of Ancient Rome lately, acting almost as an exploration of the Darcy and Elizabeth romance as told against a Roman backdrop and from Darcy’s perspective. If you like Jane Austen than you will probably enjoy this tale.
Reviewed by Jamais Jochim