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While giving nuance to Attila's character and creating a fictional Hun who has strong qualities but is still a man of his time and heritage, Dietrich also is highly critical of the flaws of the Roman Empire, Still, he leaves no doubt which side stands for any chance of progress for the human race. One of Jonas' companions, however, has plans to assassinate the Hun warlord, and when the plot is revealed, Jonas finds himself a hostage in the barbarian camp.

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This gives him a chance to stay close to Ilana, a beautiful young Roman captive who has been promised to Skilla, the passionate young nephew of one of Attila's top lieutenants. Aided by Zerco, a dwarf jester who plays the fool while gathering information for the Romans, Jonas plans to steal Attila's motivational talisman - a huge sword he claims as a gift from the ancient Roman gods - and make a daring escape while rescuing Ilana, of course to warn Rome of Attila's invasion plans.

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The fictional parts of "Scourge" are not quite as good as those in "Hadrian's Wall," and having much of the action once again precipitated by a romance may strike some readers as Dietrich going to the well too often. On the other hand, Jonas' transformation from scholar to warrior is convincing and a bit Frodo-like , Ilana is a courageous and winning character, Zerco has unexpected depth, and the conflict between Jonas and Skilla takes an illuminating turn. Dietrich does the best he can to fill in history's blanks, and the results seem a logical in most cases.

The Scourge of God :: Reviewed by David Forsmark

His portrayal of Attila seems right; the raving, mindless beast of some tales could hardly have assembled the coalition of armies that threatened Rome. Novels set in the Roman Empire have formed a thriving subgenre since the success of "Gladiator," and Dietrich has a place at the top of the heap. In addition, thanks to several 'guest' reviews by members of our active and energetic Community the list is growing on a regular basis.

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The Scourge of God

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