Elodia's Knife - Book Review


Elodia's Knife

Author: Robert Phillips
Genre: Fiction - Historical
Date Published: 00 , 0000
ISBN-13: 979-8988407409

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Book Review of :  Elodia's Knife


 The historical novel, Elodia’s Knife by Robert S. Phillips, is both entertaining and historically informative. The author’s extensive research into the fall of the Roman Empire is documented by including excerpts from the journal of Ammianus Marcellinus, a Roman soldier, and historian. This major historical account of Ancient Rome during the period of 353-378 is one of few to survive the centuries.

The intriguing plot grabs the reader from the first paragraphs as a Roman soldier on border patrol along the Danube River sees a young Goth girl struggle to cross the raging river to escape from the Huns who have devastated her tribe. This encounter sets the stage for multiple overlapping stories with specific fictional characters. As the Romans try to deal with the influx of thousands of fleeing barbarian Goths who defy the border seeking food and safety, minor wars break out. The battle scenes are heroic and bloody, terrifying, and visually nauseating.

Elodia, the beautiful Goth refugee, becomes a slave to the Romans, leading to many complications and intrigue. Although she is young, she is intelligent and wise enough to react favorably to her situation. She is a fighter and a born leader. After years of war, she rises to a position of power. Along the way, she has several romantic encounters, which are often detailed. The author’s personality development and maturity of this fictional character are inherent in all his individuals. (Although proper names may be confusing). Latin, Greek, Gothic, and minor languages are spoken, so there is often a misunderstanding between characters. The interactions between the multiple distinct characters, Roman and Goth, lead to chaos, murders, and love affairs.

In contrast to the imagery of destitute, starving, uncivilized Goths is the opulent estate of a senator. There are examples of the many riches which attracted bands of Goths to pillage when the truce and treaty with the Roman government failed. The primitive savages had been promised land in exchange for military service, paying taxes, and allegiances to Rome. The failure of Rome to provide land and Rome’s inability to defend itself led to the Goth’s revolt. The loss of civic and military capabilities in the Western empire led to a takeover by the barbarian mercenaries.

 Delve into Elodia's Knife and immerse yourself in a captivating story that offers a unique blend of historical references, love affairs, and intense battle scenes. This novel promises to engage and enthrall readers seeking an unforgettable literary journey. 

It's noteworthy that the Roman Empire's prohibition of Goth immigration bears striking similarities to the current issue of illegal border crossings in the United States and Texas. Is history repeating itself?  

            Watch for a sequel. 

Reviewed by: Carole

About Robert Phillips


Robert S. Phillips is an avid reader and history buff, especially of the ancient past. He writes short stories based on whatever weird thing awakes him at 2 am. “Elodia's Knife” is his first novel, with a sequel in the works. Born in Vancouver, BC, Robert has lived in many places in Canada and the U.S., only returning to the Pacific Northwest in the last decade. Home is Bellingham, WA. His three grown children all live in Washington; two in the State, and one in D.C.


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