Belisarius: The First Shall Be Last by Paolo Belzoni is a first novel and Book I in a trilogy about the famed Byzantine general who briefly expanded the Roman Empire again. The eminent historian Procopius was attached to Belisarius as legal secretary when the latter got his first major command, and the author follows the “Histoy of the Wars” closely, and most likely also the highly libelous “Secret History”.
The Persian wars take up much of the story, and military history buffs will enjoy the depictions of the various campaigns and the battle scenes.
Life in Constantinople, at the imperial court, and in the army, is imaginatively handled. Belisarius and most other major characters in the story are well-developed. On the down side, the prose is often awkward, and irksome modern colloquialisms creep in. The book cries out for a good, old-fashioned editor.
The intended readership is Adult/Young Adult.