The Fall of Rome
by Michael Curtis Ford
Reviewed by Coral
After the death of Attila, his combined army of Huns and Germanic tribes split apart. While his sons battle for dominance over the Huns, Odoacer and Onulf, sons of one of Attila’s Hunnish generals, are branded as traitors after the death of their father and are chased into exile from the Hunnish lands.
As he searches to rebuild his life, Odoacer finds himself haunted at every turn by Orestes, the German whose betrayal lead to Odoacer’s father’s death. Odoacer will stop at nothing to finally take his revenge against Orestes, even if it means defeating the Roman Empire itself.
I think this is the first book I’ve read from Michael Curtis Ford where the main narrator of the story is actually the historical character he’s telling the story about. In his other books, if the story was about Attila or the Roman emperor Julian, the main narrator was another character. I thought that style worked in some of his books and not in others. Actually, there was more than one narrator in this book, so we got the story from a couple points of view.
I think the main issue I had with this book is the time jumps between every chapter. Because of the time being skipped over from chapter to chapter, the book doesn’t really have a coherent feel. Time is wasted at the beginning of each chapter on exposition of what has happened in the years since the last chapter. I was left feeling that I was missing the bigger picture, especially when it came to characters’ motivations, because of the time jumps.
I was also a little disappointed that I didn’t get the book that I thought I was getting from the summary on the back cover – which has happened to me quite a bit lately. From the summary, I thought the book was going to focus more on what happened to the Huns after Attila’s death, but because of the time jumps we move past that really quickly to get a story about the personal vendettas between Odoacer and Orestes.
I did enjoy the book, though. Just not as much as I thought I would.