There are chances that you may not pick this book on the assumption that it’s not your thing or the overall look of the book may deter you from giving it a try. If this happens, you may regret missing out on one of the most interesting historical fiction of recent times! Anthony Licata’s Hannibal’s Niece is an extraordinary first-book and a pleasant surprise with well-crafted plot, unforgettable characters, and superior writing.
This story begins during 208 B.C., when Hannibal of Carthage was on a brutal rampage to tear down the Roman Empire. Scipio, then a young General in the Roman army, determined to avenge his father’s death, takes up the fight against Hannibal’s brother, Hasdrubal. When the Romans win a fight against Hasdrubal, they seize his harem, and Scipio selects a stunning Vibiana to be his slave. He soon finds out that she is no ordinary harem girl, but Hasdrubal’s daughter, and eventually falls in love with her. However, upon realizing that Scipio cannot promise her a future together in Rome, Vibiana escapes and returns to her people in Carthage. And from here, starts a tale of love, deceit, war, and betrayal; a tale that is fast-paced, sad, and heart-warming, all the same time.
The author has put great efforts in writing this story and his research, expertise, and passion on the subject matter is so evident. Licata has taken real characters from history and perfectly blended them with epic romance and fictional elements. His writing is simple and descriptive, taking you on a journey with the characters and helping you to experience their life on mundane days and on the battle field. And, it is all supplemented by tiny maps or more like sketches of battlefields as a visual aid – a very well-thought step by the publishers.
However, there some glitches in the editing. My reviewer brain could not agree with the usage of words that weren’t a part of those times—for example, ‘leggings.’ Overlooking such micro-details, this book is a smashing hit. It captivates you and also makes you think about the characters, the righteousness of their actions, and the end of the story. I really wish to read more of Licata’s work in the future.
Hannibal’s Niece is not just any descriptive story picked from history, but a journey set in gallant times with grand characters and emotionally gripping tale. It is meant to entertain you. So, pick this book for the upcoming holiday season, dive right in and devour it over a cozy long weekend.
G. Anton Publishing/Chicago
Anthony R. Licata