In this episode of the Marius Mules saga we find both Caesar and Fronto looking forward to the future. For Caesar, a pacified Gaul has him preparing for his return to Rome and a Consulship. For Fronto, it is trying to make a go as a wine merchant in a somewhat hostile business environment but at least it is not one requiring one’s skill with a gladius . This is what both men desire, peace, so as to get on with the next phase of their lives and careers. Ahh, but peace is an ever elusive and tricky beast and once again, Caesar has revolts and plots to put down and Fronto finds himself not only in a business turf war but also in a scheme by a band a fanatic Gauls whose plan is to release Vercingetorix from his Roman captors. As per usual with Mr. Turney, the story is written with the intent to further flesh out the main characters in this saga, so we are given more insights into the minds and actions of men like Varus, Decimus Brutus, the Gaulish noble Caravinos and of course our congenial host in Masillia, Fronto. Of action, there is plenty, from the scattered pockets of revolt in Gaul, to the streets of Masillia to the…well I’ll not say where as that might be a spoiler. The plots/story lines are seamlessly woven together and are marked with the occasional twists that make things more interesting.
We all know how the story ends regarding Gaius Julius Caesar but we are a few episodes away from that bloody day in March so it will be with much anticipation that we wait to see how the author gets us to that momentous time. But as the humble scribbler of the cover blurb for this edition of the saga states, ‘Marius Mules just keeps getting better.’ I couldn’t agree more. 5 stars