Blood of Rome: Caratacus by John Salter

This, the debut novel of John Salter, is the story of the legendary Briton Caratacus and his quest to protect his homeland from the Claudian invasion of Britain.  Most of the book focuses on the 2nd Augusta Legion under it’s Legate Vespasian as he strives to convince the various tribes to acquiesce to Roman rule and order.  The author brings to life some very interesting characters both Roman and Briton in this well researched tale.  The Britons Caratacus, Adminius and Brenna bring to life the differences of opinion as to whether submission to Rome or the destruction of the invader is the better choice for their home and people.  Their motives and emotions are vastly different from each other(I won’t say who is of which opinion so as to not reveal a spoiler, though Caratacus’ choice is probably well known) and are the heart and soul of the conflict.

As in any good story there are plenty of plot twists especially one towards the end that is very nice yet very nasty and I was taken completely by surprise.  The battle scenes are well done, the gore is not overly excessive yet enough so that you get the feel of what it would have been like to be a Roman legionnaire facing a menacing group of  frenzied, woad covered warriors.  You also get to know what it was like to be an advance scouting party of Roman cavalry from the intense fear to the comradeship of the men involved.  I am looking forward to the next volume in this saga as the battle for Britain is far from over and Caractacus is as determined as ever to throw the Romans back into the sea.  My rating for this is 3.8 stars.

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