Book Review: Fight or Die: A Short Story Collection by Richard Foreman

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Independently published
Pub date: 19 February 2021

Fight or Dieย is a specially curated collection of the bestselling historical novelist’s shorter works. The stories are a taster menu for some of author’s series, set in the likes of Ancient Rome, the First Crusade and Victorian London.

Sword of Rome: Gladiator.

An action-packed novella that takes you into the heart of Rome and into the crucible of gladiatorial combat. Lucious Oppius must not only fight his enemies in the arena, however. Marcus Porcius Cato warns โ€œCaesarโ€™s Championโ€ that victory inside the theatre will bring death outside of it.

A Brief Affair.

Rufus Varro has placed himself in danger again, by conducting an affair with another man’s wife. The agent is used to saving Rome. But now he must save himself.

A Knight’s Tale.

It is the eve of the First Crusade. Bohemond of Taranto is keen to recruit the veteran knight Edward Kemp to join him on the campaign. But first Kemp must survive an encounter with two Varangians.

Raffles: The Gentleman Thief.

How will the master criminal fare against Sherlock Holmes, legendary detective?

“It’s Everybody’s Fight.”

Europe is at war, but Pat Hobby’s current battle is to convince the British actor Nigel Chester to sign up to a career in Hollywood. The two men find an ally in each other, but how much will Pat prove to be his own worst enemy again?

I never used to be a fan of short stories but since the release of the four collections from HWA I’ve become a fan and as I’ve previously enjoyed the work of Richard Foreman I was looking forward to this collection.

The five stories differ in era from Roman to much more recent. I thoroughly enjoyed the crusader series by Foreman and was pleased to see one of my favourite characters Edward Kemp in A Knight’s Tale. Once again Kemp and his brother in arms Owen are entangled in violence but this short story takes place prior to the crusade which was an interesting perspective to see how Kemp became involved.

Sword of Rome was a brilliant short story, I haven’t read Foreman’s works set in Rome but this short story had great characters and plot which has certainly encouraged me to add the other books to my TBR list. The story was fast paced, and as you can probably tell from the title involves fighting for life but there is also humour to make it more light hearted.

All of the stories in this collection are fun to read. The two above were my favourites but I did enjoy them all. I find short stories are perfect when you have a little time or don’t want to get stuck into a novel just before sleep.

I’d recommend this collection to any who enjoy different eras of history.

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