Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them. For my latest Waiting on Wednesday, I look at an impressive upcoming historical fiction novel I am extremely excited for with Falling Sky by the always exciting Harry Sidebottom.
I have a mentioned a few times before that my reviewing career began with a singular focus on historical fiction, a genre I was very keen on at the time, and I spent multiple years purely reading historical books. As such I got very familiar with several impressive authors and to this day historical fiction remains one of my favourite genres which I keep coming back to.
One of all the authors I grew especially attached to during my historical fiction phase was the very talented Harry Sidebottom. Sidebottom, an expert on writing Roman historical fiction books, is a very skilled author, who has written several amazing novels over his career, most noticeably his Warrior of Rome and Thrones of the Caesars series, both of which told exciting stories of action, adventure, and intrigue in various points of ancient Rome’s history. I am a particular fan of the first Warrior of Rome book, Fire in the East, which features one of the better historical sieges I have had the pleasure of reading.
In more recent years, Sidebottom has been producing several truly impressive and captivating reads, that also featured a bit of an interesting experimental edge to them. This started in 2018 with The Last Hour, an impressive and highly exciting novel that acted as an addition to the Warrior of Rome series, and which brought back Sidebottom’s original protagonist, the Germanic warrior turned defender of Rome, Ballista. I loved The Last Hour’s story, especially as it combined historical fiction with a thriller storyline that saw Ballista, stuck in a 24-esque situation, where he is forced to make his way through a hostile Rome in a tight time limit in order to save the Emperor and his own family. Loaded with tight, gritty action, this was an extremely awesome read and I had such a brilliant time getting through it.
Sidebottom has since followed up The Last Hour with several other great books, all of which I have eagerly grabbed as soon as I could. This includes two great standalone reads, The Lost Ten and The Return, as well as another Warrior of Rome book, The Burning Road. All three were excellent reads, and I loved the amazing stories that they all had. The Lost Ten featured a military-thriller storyline that saw a team of specialist legionnaires attempt to break into a notorious enemy prison, while The Return featured a brilliant Scandi-Noir inspired storyline about a returned Roman solider who is suspected of a series of gruesome murders in his home village. The Burning Road on the other hand once again focused on Ballista and showed him and his young son forced to fight through a brutal slave revolt on Sicily, which ended up being quite an impressive and intense survival adventure story. All these books, and more, from Sidebottom have been quite outstanding and I am naturally inclined to seek out and grab any additional novels that Sidebottom writes as soon as I can.
Well, my wait for his next book is nearly over as Sidebottom has an intriguing and awesome upcoming novel coming out in a few months with Falling Sky. Currently set for release in October 2022, Falling Sky is another addition to the Warrior of Rome series and follows Ballista as he and his Emperor embark on another campaign. This time, Ballista is going up into the alps to fight a mountain campaign against a usurper Emperor and must face off against rebellious Roman troops in a bloody civil war. However, unbeknown to Ballista, he is travelling with the secret antagonist of The Last Hour and must try to survive the inevitable assassination attempt that comes his way.
Needless to say, I am exceedingly excited to read Falling Sky and I am already fairly confident it is going to be one of the top historical fiction books of 2022. I am going to have so much fun seeing Ballista getting back into action, and I hope that we get to see the protagonist indulge in his speciality of siege warfare. It sounds like Falling Sky is going to have a fantastic combination of war, historical elements (at which Sidebottom excels), and a good dose of intrigue and espionage, which should make for quite an epic read. I already know I am going to love this latest Warrior of Rome book and I can’t wait to get my hands on Falling Sky later this year.
AD 265, Gaul – The Roman Empire is on the brink.
Emperor Gallienus has amassed a huge army across the Alps to seize back the mountains from the usurper Posthumus.
War has come.
Ballista and his cavalry are on the frontline, battling in the most brutal of conditions. But if he is to survive the campaign and finally retire to his beloved Sicily, it’s not just the battlefield he needs to navigate.
As he and Praetorian Prefect Volusianus lay siege to Posthumus’ armies, it becomes clear the greatest threat to Ballista’s life might just come from within his ranks. After all, Volusianus has shown he will go to any distance for his own ends. Is Ballista just another pawn in his game?