Review: The Winter of Winters (The Histories of Sphax #2) by Robert M. Kidd


Rating: 10/10

Synopsis

218 BC. Hannibal’s exhausted army staggers down from the last Alpine pass like a rabble of half-starved savages, the remnants of a once magnificent army that had set out from the Rhodanus with such hope. Now there is no way back. With the legions of Consul Publius Scipio closing fast, Carthage needs its Gaulish allies like never before. But where are the Insubres? Where are the Boii? Where are the thousands of warriors pledged by solemn oath? In the maelstrom of battle, Sphax, nephew of Hannibal, forges a reputation as the scourge of Rome. But will his ingrained recklessness and quest for honour set him at odds with the forbidding genius of his uncle? Only one thing is certain in this winter of winters, a great battle is coming that will decide the fates of Rome and Carthage.

Review

Before I start this review, I do apologies for the delay in my review. Thank you to Rachel at Random Resources for allowing me to take part and providing me an ARC copy! Nevertheless, this book is completely amazing and I loved it! Without further ado, let’s begin! I am also writing this review to give appreciation for self-published authors as it is self-published authors week! Go ahead and review a book you like that’s from a self-published author, and please publish that review on Amazon and Goodreads. It helps the author, it helps you, and it helps all of us in the book industry.

This is great historical fiction, and you need to read this!

Winters of Winters perfectly illustrates how difficult it was for Hannibal Barca to conquer Italy. We continue Sphax’s journey as the Carthaginian army, now filled with the ranks of Gaulish warriors from Liguria and other various places, pulls off impossible victories against the Romans. The Romans are oppressive to an extent, but Hannibal has to deal with revolts, betrayal and turmoil within his own ranks. The Carthaginians also have to deal with supply issues, and Sphax becomes a warrior in his own might. He undertakes daring missions, challenges the Romans and becomes a name on their lips.

The worldbuilding is rich with historical detail, with epic battle scenes that would not be far from a historical film. There were many good and bad characters in this novel. My favourite was a blind Gaulish warrior who held a grudge against Rome. Idwal played a more prominent role in this novel, but I really wanted a more unique perspective on him. I feel that the character and personality that had been built for this brave Gaulish warrior that had defied his father’s wishes, and left his tribe to go and fight for Hannibal Barca, didn’t have enough scenes to further develop his personality. A more good focus on Idwal’s point of view would have helped in my opinion. The novel did often go into different points of view, which is well handled from Sphax’s perspective.

The dialogue is well written, and there are good scenes of pacing and showing within the novel. It does often, tend to veer off into describing battle tactics when it is not necessarily that needed in some places. Sometimes, I felt the characters did more telling than showing when it came to descriptive phrases of battle planning. It is inevitable in a historical fiction novel, I believe, that you do end up doing that. Because you have to explain to the reader concepts of ancient military warfare that were common two thousand years ago, they are now no longer common. I also didn’t like Corinna and feel that Sphax needs a different woman for him. I also wanted to see Sphax mourning a lot more for his previous love interest, but then the ancient world worked in mysterious ways.

Overall, it’s not really a spoiler as to what will happen in this novel. The Battle of the River Trebia is considered Hannibal’s Barca brilliant victory against a Roman army that outnumbered him. This novel is the build-up to it. Lots of great scenes, well-written dialogue, and descriptive battle scenes. I really enjoyed this! 10/10 in my opinion. This is historical fiction that is the likes of Ben Kane, Simon Scarrow, SJA Turney, Christian Cameron and J.C Duncan.

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