Only just found this guy, Valerio Massimo Manfredi, He has written a few that look like they will be right up my ally
I have just finished reading "empire of dragons".http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/valerio-massimo-manfredi/empire-of-dragons.htm
Twelve or so Romans from a sieged legion is captured by the Persians, taken deep into Persian territory. They then end up crossing China. There is a mixture of Roman resilience and virtue and Chinese qi and kungfu like arts. Traitors, loyal friendships, tyrants, romance even and diabolical nasties.
Nicely written IMO.