No Roads Lead to Rome – R.S. Gompertz

Another hilarious jaunt through the garden spot of Hispania, the city of Tarraco. I say another as I read the second book in the series,Aqueduct to Nowhere, first. The governor has been murdered and his replacement has arrived and in trying to impose his style of governing finds to his dismay that he is handcuffed by corporate entities that really run things(sound familiar?). Severus,one of the main characters, is thrown from his home during a fit of proscription and ends up a conscript legionnaire. His commanding officer is Centurion Marcus Valerius a twenty year veteran who only wants to retire and collect his pension. The city is broke and owes Hadrian his tribute; Winus Minem, erstwhile adviser to the governor, hatches a scheme to corner the wine market. They order the city garrison to cross the border into Gaul and acquire oak wood barrels, a task they carry out in shall we say, an over enthusiastic manner. The story is full of the unlikely, the ironic and the just plain funny scenarios. One in particular, Severus is standing post as the legion is camped. He ventures to investigate voices off in the distance. What he finds is his father preaching to a group of outcasts on Moses and the Burning Bush. The conversation and negotiation between God and Moses concerning the Commandments is worth the price of admission.
No Roads Lead to Rome is a madcap tale of intrigue, greed, heroism; all the traits that made Rome great. It is a wonderful satire on what makes a society run, for good or ill. 5 stars.

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