I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run
As a lover of Ancient History, and in particular Roman History, and indeed having studied this period for many years, it surprises me that I have never managed to read any of the numerous books now being published by a proliferation of authors. Simon Scarrow must surely be at the forefront of this revolution.
Traitors of Rome is No 18 in the Eagles of the Empire series and follows once again 2 protagonists; Tribune Cato and Centurion Macro. Macro is a wily old soldier with some 30 years allegiance to the Empire, and the much younger Cato, moulded, reared and protected by Macro resulting in a leader of supreme confidence in his own ability. Under the watchful eye of General Gorbulo, the second Praetorian cohort commanded by Cato has been instructed to lead an embassy into neighbouring Parthia an area of strategic and vital importance to Roman eastern expansion. He is to make contact with the wonderfully named King Vologases persuading him that resistance to the mighty Roman empire is futile. Such a dangerous almost suicidal mission will very much rely on the oratorical and charismatic skills of Cato as he and his deputation know that failure is an option and a painful death more than possible.
In the meantime Macro is fighting rebel insurgents on the western side of the Euphrates and in particular the overthrow of rebel held Thapsus is a priority. He takes his orders direct from General Gorbulo who demands 100% obedience from his soldiers, and to achieve this he can be brutal in the execution of his command. Two other characters are worthy of mention: Appollonius an agent accompanying Cato, acting as a guide and advisor, is he to be trusted? And what is the purpose of the flute he carries with him? Flaminius, an old soldier falling on hard times, sold into slavery, and rescued by Cato, an action he may come to regret.
This is a wonderful boys own action adventure, a superlative mixture of historical fact woven around a fast paced narrative. The purpose of good fiction is to immerse you the reader in the storyline, to bring the action alive with the smells, sounds and taste of the battlefield. This is expertly achieved by a very accomplished author and by his penmanship he paints a believable picture not only of the battlefields but the world as it existed at that time…..”Gilded pillars lined the walls and ran down the centre of the chamber. The high ceiling was painted deep blue and decorated with stars and a large crescent moon so that it looked like the night sky. The walls between the pillars were painted with depictions of lavish gardens and parks, as if the chamber was an open-sided pavilion set in the heart of some idyllic landscape”…….Highly Recommended!!