Title – Strategos: Island in the Storm (Strategos #3)
Author – Gordon Doherty
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 402 Pages
Publication – July 2014
My Rating – 5/5 Stars
The storm is upon us, Haga. The answers you seek dance within its wrath . . .
1071 AD. Emperor Romanus Diogenes has rekindled the guttering flame of Byzantium. Yet in the eastern borderlands, two vital strongholds hang in the balance. Manzikert and Chliat must be won to secure the empire’s fragile frontiers and vanquish the would-be usurpers who covet the imperial throne. But Sultan Alp Arslan and his vast Seljuk armies look to those twin fortress-towns also, resolute on seizing them first.
Apion rides by the emperor’s side as they march east, marshalling Byzantium’s armies for the conflict that is to come. He knows only too well that the threat posed by the Sultan’s hordes is well-matched by malevolent forces within the Byzantine ranks. Thus, the road to war is a savage one, but one he cannot refuse. For at its end, Fate beckons, taunting him with a choice of two futures.
On the plains of Manzikert, one great power will rise and another will fall. On the plains of Manzikert, Apion will face the storm.
So here we are.. Apion’s final journey..
Now on the book 3!
After the battle that took place in book 2 we are left wondering what will become of the Haga after Nasir’s death.
Emperor Romanus sets out to secure his throne by securing his boarders from the Seljuks. After the build up to this point you know it’s going to be bloody!
Apion has a lot to deal with in this book, not only is he fighting a war while having some insight from the old crone who always seems to be with him but he’s also dealing with the fact Maria, the only good thing in his life left, is out there somewhere.
Nasir’s son plays a big part in this book too as he struggles to come to terms with the death of Nasir. I’ll admit Taylan wasn’t my favourite addition to this book, I struggled at times to like him.. mainly because I thought Nasir was brilliant.. in the end Taylan turned out to be a better addition to the series than I thought he would be.
Gordon manages to bring everything together in this book and we finally get to see an end in sight for the whole Apion/Maria story. Personally I loved how Gordon finished the story. I felt it was a fitting end.. although he had me saying “no no no no” a lot while a was reading.
So character development.. there’s loads. Gordon managed to give an ending to a lot of the characters though the chapters of this book and it’s not all happy endings. You see a lot of friendships grow and even though a character like Psellos isn’t likable you get a wonderful depth to the person in this one. Not to give anything away but the whole situation with Psellos and the old crone which plays out is brilliant.
We see additions such as Kaspax which I loved along with Vilyam. Vilyam was the star of the book for me.. 🙂
There’s a lot of bloodshed in this book but Gordon again manages to help the reader visualise the battlefield with his impressive knowledge. It gives a great feel to the book as you could imagine the clashes that took place and how many men must have died.
Gordon also uses his knowledge to give even more insight when you read the historical note. He clearly knows his stuff and it pays off well. He makes the subject interesting which isn’t always easy to do.
This series has to be the best I’ve ever read. Credit where credits due, Gordon managed to get me emotionally connected with his characters. For me that is a sign of a truly great author.
I can’t imagine a better end for the series but it’s sad that I won’t be able to read about Apion again. When I get the time I’ll definitely have to read this series again.
I hope Gordon has more books planned..