The Sword of Attila

by Michael Curtis Ford

Reviewed by Coral

As boys, Flavius Aetius and Attila spent time in each other's worlds, hostages to keep the peace between the Roman Empire and the Huns. As adults, Aetius and Attila will face each other on the battlefield, with the fate of the whole of the Roman Empire hanging in the balance.

Even though I've enjoyed some of Michael Curtis Ford's books in the past, they've all had the same, it's not exactly a flaw, kind of a drawback: none of them are told from the point of view of the person who's story is being told. His books about Xenophon and the Emperor Julian were told from the point of view of characters I'm not sure were even based on historical figures. I'm sure, at least, that the narrator of his book, The Last King, was a historical figure, but still not Mithridates.

It's even more of a problem in this book, because Aetius and Attila don't spend a whole lot of time in contact with each other. In the first hundred or so pages of the book Attila had made only a couple of brief appearances. Considering the story is nominally about him, he really should have featured more. And still I felt that Aetius, who was the default main character, wasn't fleshed out enough. He spent a good part of his life with the Huns; there was a whole emotional journey that he could have experienced about going to war with them. But nothing. And the court intrigue in the Roman Empire was over pretty quickly too. Not even all that much time spent on his family life.

Rereading this, and it pretty much sounds like the same stuff I wrote about The Last King. That's kind of depressing thought, because I really believe that Michael Curtis Ford is a decent enough writer. Just nothing outstanding.


Grade: C