Read Winter Quarters by Alfred Duggan Online


In this novel set in Ancient Rome, two Gauls join the doomed Roman army marching into what is now Iraq....

Title : Winter Quarters
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780753818916
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Winter Quarters Reviews

  • Vicki Cline
    2018-12-08 10:41

    A very interesting look at a part of Roman military history from the viewpoint of a Gallic nobleman who joins the cavalry of Caesar's army under Publius Crassus, the triumvir's son, and goes with Crassus to fight the Parthians. What I like about Duggan's books is that they don't have a conventionally happy ending, although neither is the ending tragic. The main characters just make the best of a not-great situation.

  • Terence
    2018-11-29 04:40

    Winter Quarters is the best of the three Duggan novels I’ve read to this point (May 2012). The prose is more polished, the dialog less awkward, and there’s more obvious and sustained attempts to describe the characters’ environment. An example is the narrator’s description of the land and people of Greece as he and his companion journey to Athens:But Greece is in itself, in the very bones of the landscape, unlike any other country on earth. The limestone mountains, the fertile valleys, the clear horizon never veiled by mist, combine into a background of beauty that uplifts the spirit. I liked the people as well, though they did not like us. Roman soldiers are unpopular as conquerors, and barbarian soldiers of the Roman army are considered even worse….We liked the Greeks because they are cheerful and cheeky, independent men who are very pleased with themselves. Their conceit is not contemptuous of others, like Roman pride. At the inns our fellow travelers treated us as equals; perhaps not the kind of men they liked, but free men who might be foreign, and behave like foreigners, if that was what we preferred. They recognized our right to be ourselves. (p. 140)I first thought that this must represent a positive learning curve from the other two novels – Children of the Wolf and Besieger of Cities – but both of those are later in his career. It could be a result of the book’s POV. Unlike the others, Winter Quarters is first person, which may have forced Duggan to delve deeper into his subjects’ minds than otherwise. Another factor might be that Duggan liked his characters more than he did those of the other books. Whatever the case, happily it resulted in a more enjoyable, more interesting read, and I can give this one a mildly enthusiastic three stars.The story opens in Margu (Αντιοχια της Μαργιανης, modern-day Merv in Turkmenistan), where we meet our narrator: Camillus, a ½-Romanized Gallic nobleman who was captured by the Parthians at the battle of Carrhae and is living out his exile in this border fortress on the edge of the steppes. He’s settled down with a Scythian woman and has had a son by her. Because he wants his son to know about his kinsmen in the West, Camillus asks a fellow Roman exile to write down his story.The subsequent tale follows Camillus and his friend Acco from their exile from their Gallic homeland, their joining the Roman armies of Caesar as auxiliaries, and their later participation in Marcus Licinius Crassus’ disastrous expedition against the Parthians in 54-53 BC.Duggan uses Camillus’ outsider status to critique Roman civilization. Camillus (and, I suspect, the author) both admires and loathes them. On the one hand, they’re obviously favored by the gods since they’re well on the way to conquering the world and he admires their military acumen. But they’re also hopelessly venal and corrupt, the chief motivation of their politicians being ambition and greed, and that of the populace being indulgence and carnality.There’s an interesting subplot with Acco, who’s the reason the young men have to leave their tribe. He killed a she-bear, a totemic animal of the Goddess, and now feels he is cursed and pursued by her malevolence. All through the novel there’s a continuing contrast between the Goddess, who is “entirely evil” (p. 218), and the “cleaner,” more “civilized” worship of the male Skyfather and Wargod (by whatever names they are known):There are gods on my side. I am not especially cursed by all the company of Heaven. I have only the Goddess to fear, and tomorrow we shall have left even the fringe of her land. This is an army of men, who worship the Wargod; and we go into the desert where no gods live…. Until we storm the walls of Seleucia my ring will keep me strong enough for battle, and the Raven will guard my head. We are grown men and warriors, far from the wiles of women…. (pp. 249-50)I’m growing to appreciate Duggan’s writing a bit more as I continue to plow through his books. His ideas aren’t always well expressed and the stories aren’t always well told but the former are intriguing and the latter are engaging enough to keep me reading. I’d like to get a hold of Leopards and Lilies, which is about a woman living in the time of John and Henry III, to see how he handles a story from a female POV.

  • Brian
    2018-11-21 08:39

    Alfred Duggan wrote in the nineteen fifties and compared to a lot of contemporary fiction set in the ancient world his books are slow. The emphasis is not on power struggles and battles but on the mind-set of the period. Rather than creating characters who are like his contemporaries but dressed in togas, Duggan tries to depict individuals who are conditioned by the cultural norms of their time.When Gallic nobles, Camul and Acco, become polluted by killing a bear sacred to a local goddess, they are forced to leave their community and enlist in the Roman army where they become involved in the ill-fated expedition of the plutocrat, Crassus, against the Parthians. Duggan's uses the contrast between the outlook of the Gauls, in which everything is seen through the prism of honour, and the ruthless, pragmatic politics of Rome to great effect. The campaign of Crassus, which at first seemed a glorious enterprise, gradually emerges in its true light as the vanity project of an elderly businessman with no understanding of war.The highlight of the book for me is the portrait of Crassus dressed in the trappings of an imperator, waiting to receive the Parthian envoy: 'his face bore the strained expression of the deaf, and his wrinkled neck sagged with age.' By contrast the Parthian looks and acts like a real general. As Camul watches this meeting unfold he understands that the campaign is doomed, but like all the others, legionary or auxiliary, he is caught in the juggernaut of Crassus's ambition and there is nothing he can do but play his part in what will inevitably be a terrible slaughter.

  • Reuben Chadwick
    2018-12-02 04:55

    21% through and I can't take it any longer. Only the 3rd book I've stopped reading part way through.

  • Chrisl
    2018-11-20 04:37 a Duggan binge, Winter Quarters became my favorite by Duggan. Synopsis (copied from Pan-MacMillan website)"Camul and Acco are young noble Gauls of the Pyrenees, content to accept Roman occupation for the benefits it brings, but fiercely proud of their superior civilisation. Until Acco brings on himself the curse of the Goddess, and the two are forced to escape her by joining the Roman army.From Julius Caesar’s campaigns on the Rhine to Rome, Greece, and finally the Empire’s eastern rim in the steppes of Russia, Camul recounts their adventures and mishaps, their impressions of the different customs, cults and cultures they meet, with an idealistic but also pragmatic tone. But the Goddess dogs them in every land except Judaea, and when Acco finally succumbs to her vengeance, Camul has to make his own pact with the gods – and goddesses – to survive . . .‘Covers a remarkable amount of ground, and covers it convincingly’ Sunday Times‘Few novelists can touch Alfred Duggan when it comes to re-creating remote corners of historical time and place’ Guardian"**Here's a summary of the story copied and pasted from Kirkus. Don't much like the review.KIRKUS REVIEWFrom the rim of the world, between the Sea of Grass and the Land of Silk, exiled, in honorable disgrace, Camillus tells of the events which brought about his departure from Gaul to end up at the edge of the Roman Empire. The killing of Grane, beloved of his friend Acco, a poor Ovate studying to be a Druid, sends Acco to make an end of the bear who killed her; Acco comes under the curse of the numph of Pyrene, and, with Camillus, is advised to join Caesar's forces against the Germans. As hired soldiers, they save Publius from a massacre of Romans; Acco swears allegiance to him and Camillus shares in their reward when they prove their trust and become Publius' buyers of remounts. Rome and Romans show up as ugly boors and Acco finds traces of the goddess throughout the country; Greece, as they ride with Publius' father who is taking an army to plunder Parthia, and Antioch show more faces of the goddess who is pursuing Acco, not only for his life but for his honor; and, in the march across the desert, with treacherous Arab allies, they stand against the Parthians -- to be annihilated by a force of horse and bowmen that leaves only Camillus, his debt discharged, to flee his bondage to Rome. Duggan's sense of history, people, place and ancient customs buttresses a tale of haunting and vengeance that is accepted in spite of the knowledge that foreign culture brings and that is proved when the secret ways of the goddess' worship by women is revealed. For special tastes.Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1956ISBN: 0753818914Publisher: Coward-McCann"

  • Ryan
    2018-11-23 04:48

    The book begins in a Parthian outpost located in modern-day Turkmenistan and then flashes back to Gaul (modern-day France) I quickly figured out that the main characters would go with Crassus and his failed attempt to conquer Parthia (modern-day Iran and Iraq). This got me very excited since there has always been a speculation that some members of Crassus' legion who survived the Parthian slaughter at the Battle of Carrhae ended up as slaves on the other side of Parthia close enough to escape into China. If you Google Romans in China you will see all the speculation, including blonde and blue eyed Chinese who are supposedly their descendants.---Spoilers---I was hoping the main character would travel from ancient France to ancient China like an early Marco Polo. That he didn't was a bit of a disappointment, although there is a definite hint that the character might have done that and perhaps the skeleton of a sequel existed in Duggan's mind but never materialized. Perhaps Duggan knew his strength for fiction lied in Europe and he didn't feel up to the extra research it would have taken to finish the story. Despite that it was still an enjoyable book and well written.

  • William Kelso
    2018-11-29 10:37

    Winter Quarters by Alfred Duggan is one of those books that I still vividly remember after first reading it as a teenager 30 years ago. The story revolves around two young Gallic nobles and their adventures and experiences as auxiliaries in the Roman army during the time of Caesar, Pompey and Crassus. The action moves from Caesar's campaigns and conquest of Gaul to Rome and onwards to Crassus's doomed invasion of Parthia and the humiliation of Carrhae. Duggan tells the story in the first person and creates a well researched, atmospheric and gripping read from a Gallic/Roman viewpoint. Sixty years after he wrote this novel, Winter Quarters is still exciting and inspiring which is the mark of a true classic. Duggan is one of my favorite Roman historical fiction authors. Highly recommended!

  • Olethros
    2018-12-14 09:33

    -Corrección sobria.-Género. Novela histórica.Lo que nos cuenta. A finales del Siglo I antes de nuestra era, Camul es un galo de nacimiento que actualmente patrulla y vive en la tierra de nadie al norte del Imperio Parto, al este de los dominios de Roma y cerca de las inmensas llanuras escitas. Camul recuerda su historia, la que le llevó junto a su amigo Acco desde la zona pirenaica de la que eran nativos hasta muy lejos de su aldea cuando se engancharon al ejército romano debido a un incidente relacionado con sus supersticiones.¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

  • Yago de Artaza Paramo
    2018-12-07 10:37

    I don't read many fictional novels but this one was more interesting because it offered the possibility to recreate a space in a different time. The author brings you to a particular time ijn the history of Rome (Craso's invasion of Parthia) and faithfully, without getting into a scrtutiating detail, recreation of costumes and experiences a barbarian soldier in the auxilia would have exprienced. Worth reading specially if you are an avid reader of Roman and Greek history.

  • Alberto Martín de Hijas
    2018-12-03 07:27

    Este es uno de esos libros que se lee en dos patadas, no solo es corto sino que tiene un estilo muy ágil. Al autor consigue meterte en el ambiente de los protagonistas y a las batallas no les falta emoción aunque sepas el resultado de antemano. Casi la principal pega que le veo es que me gustaría que la hsitoria continuase un poco más (como 200 ó 300 páginas más)

  • hatpin
    2018-12-01 09:41

    I made the mistake of listening to this as an audiobook. What would have been a shortish contemplative novel became an exercise in torture, where I could leave the book playing for half an hour and come back to find that the action had not progressed.

  • Abby
    2018-11-21 06:37

    Was a bit tedious but enjoyed descriptions of life in the roman army and considerations made to other groups/ nations at the same time.

  • Margareth8537
    2018-12-09 07:42

    Came across Duggan by chance and tried it as I liked Roman settings. Thoroughly enjoyed it

  • Phlip
    2018-11-29 08:46

    Good fun for the classicist desiring a good yarn.