This steamy novel can be an entertaining way to learn about the Dark Ages.

I recently started rereading this epic adventure novel and it holds up quite well for a second read. I hadn’t continued on with the series when I first read Into The Fire. I was busy at the time. But now I’m ready. I figured before I jumped into the next book, I’d refresh my memory on this one.

I may have slightly more knowledge than the typical soul about Europe after the fall of Rome, but even so my studies have been limited. I’ve read Julius Ceasar’s journals of his Gallic campaigns (fascinating firsthand source if you are interested in history), but I had minimal knowledge of the period of chaos after that which was truly apocalyptic for those who lived at the time. All order was gone. Complete lawlessness with powerful men struggling to rise to the top of small city-states. Mia West does a fantastic job of painting this world.

Wolf is a blacksmith in southern Gaul and Marcos is his childhood friend who left to become a soldier in the Roman Legion. Marcos has come back to see if the old smith who taught them both still lives. The world is brutal. Roving groups of bandits rape and pillage and destroy. Death and starvation is everywhere. There’s a lot of sex mixed in with the storytelling, and I nearly put the book down as I feared that was all it would be. But I continued and I’m glad I did. (I read this book on the heels of another book in which the plot never quite got around to showing up… but this is quite different). The world of wild Gaul is richly described. The cast of characters and locations expand. The story truly opens up into a vast epic. It is a fascinating window into an enormously significant time and place in the history of Europe. It is raw and visceral. Into The Fire explores how civilization is forged. How does one create a community amid absolute lawlessness?

I discovered that Mia West has updated the look of the covers!

As one reaches the end of this book one starts to recognize familiar bits of story… I don’t want to spoil anything. I’ll only say that this book becomes an unexpected prequel to a more familiar story told in a fresh new way. If you are comfortable with testosterone infused steamy sequences (that are particularly well written despite their no holds barred nature), and if you are at all curious about 376-440CE Europe, you might enjoy these books a lot.



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