The Great King by Christian Cameron

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In this volume of The Killer of Men series, Arimnestos continues the telling of his story to his thugater (daughter) and her friends; a story that has seen Arimnestos return to his beloved Plataea to rebuild his home and his life.  But, the killer of men was called upon to convey  Spartan envoys to Persia to meet and try to placate Xerxes, the mercurial King Of Kings.  Of course, as we all know from history, Xerxes was not placated, mollified, or deflected from his goal to annihilate the Greek mainland.   Once again, the author has taken the historical record and created a stunning account of the Greek resistance to the Persian juggernaut.  Exquisitely detailed, elegant use of language, and an intriguing glimpse at the political and cultural climate of the times make this tale a very enjoyable read.  Make no mistake, The Persians are coming even after the great battles of Artemesium.  Salamis is next.  4.7 stars

 

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Days of Sun and Glory by Anna Belfrage

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A taut thriller of a sequel awaits you, my peeps and fellow travelers.  Kit and Adam find themselves in a precarious position as Hugh Despenser continues his vengeful hatred of them while they are now members of the Royal Court.  Toss in an heir to the throne who is being played by his parents as they seek to control him for the future, mix in a bitter feud between King and Queen and vigorously stir in the Mortimer plot to overthrow the King.  The result is a marvelously crafted, character driven tale of anguish, hope, fear and bravery.  The author has the reader guessing throughout the book what the outcome of these events will be, even though the reader may know the end from history.  That, my friends, is what makes a great read; at least to this humble scribbler of reviews.  4.8 stars

 

Conspirata by Robert Harris

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The middle book of the trilogy,  Conspirata encompasses Cicero’s life during his Consulship and the subsequent fall out from the Catiline Conspiracy.  Through the voice of Tiro, the uber secretary, the author continues an excellent reading experience chock full of history enhanced with intrigue and emotion.  Cicero rides a stormy sea as he vacillates between victories, doubt, and a surprising predilection to turn his fears into heroic acts.  The characters ring true, from the pompous (Catalus, Hortensius), to the pretentious power seekers (Pompey, Crassus) and a unremitting, ruthless Caesar.

It had been quite a while between my reading of Imperium and Conspirata.  I predict that it won’t be as long before I start the final volume, Dictator.  4.8 stars & The Hoover Book Review’s coveted “It’s a Good One, Boys & Girls” award.

 

Soldier of Rome: Heir to Rebellion: Book Three of the Artorian Chronicles by James Mace

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Artorius and company are garrisoned in Lugdunum after quelling the Sacrovir revolt but there is still a remnant of the rebellion, led by Heracles, and he is terrorizing the area looking for revenge.  The author delivers, once again, an exciting tale of intrigue filled with action, anguish, and even love.  Artorius continues to develop and is becoming  much more complicated and well rounded and is only one of the interesting characters the author has created.  Without giving away any of the story I can state that Heracles, a former leader of the Sacrovir Rebellion, is one nasty piece of work and the plans he executes are loaded with atrocities…atrocities that hit close to home for Artorius and his cohort commander.  All in all, it is an enjoyable read that gives the reader glimpses of what it was like to be part of a Roman legion with a sub-plot of Sejanus’ relationship with Tiberius and his grab for power. 4.3 stars….looking forward to book 4.

 

 

 

 

The Enterprise of England by Ann Swinfen

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Against the backdrop of Spain’s designs to conquer England, Kit Alvarez is once again called upon to assist Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham.  The Spanish are building an enormous navy and are positioning troops across the channel in The Netherlands.  A mission to Amsterdam to gather intelligence for Sir Francis finds Kit becoming ever more resourceful in this rather new and dangerous occupation.  Kit’s main occupation as a healer is also wonderfully depicted, from the everyday ills to the horrors of war made injuries, the author’s research shines through.  What I find so intriguing is the ability of the author to reel me into the story in such a way that any interruption of my reading is met with much wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part.  Another intriguing facet is that Kit’s two life secrets remain intact, although one of them may be known to someone…someone with a lot of power.  4.7 stars   Oh yeah, I see a pattern developing as this second book in the series ends like the first; with a tantalizing last sentence.  🙂

Flame of the West- Caesar’s Sword III by David Pilling

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The finale to this trilogy about the grandson of Arthur follows Coel back to Constantinople as he makes a new life after leaving Belisarius and the Roman Army behind.  It is an engaging tale replete with interesting characters, bold action and a story line that pulls you into the intrigues, betrayals and machinations of the powers that be.    All in all this is a well written series and is highly recommended by Hoover Book Reviews.  4.3 stars

 

 

Galba’s Men by L.J. Trafford

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A witty, jocose romp through the imperial reign of Galba, the second of the four emperors in a year.  Wonderful characters throughout, the story is told from the viewpoint of the slaves and freedmen who staff the Imperial Palace and who run the bureaucracy that runs the Empire.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the humor that permeates the pages of this book, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the well written intrigues and political machinations that bring home the stark reality of this unsettled period in Rome’s history.   It is the kind of tale that is; well let me put it this way :  I usually read three books at the same time and I divide my reading time between them pretty evenly….in this case, and in spite of the fact that the other books currently being read are really good, I broke protocol and couldn’t put this one down.  My only disappointment is that book three is not out yet.  4.7 stars and the coveted Hoover Book Reviews ‘You Gotta Read This One’ official seal of approval.  🙂