For one to rule, the other must die.
312 AD is a year of horrific and brutal warfare. Constantine’s northern army is a small force, plagued by religious rivalries, but seemingly unstoppable as they invade Maxentius’ Italian heartlands. These relentless clashes, incidents of treachery and twists of fortune see Maxentius’ armies driven back to Rome.
Constantine has his prize in sight, yet his army is diminished and on the verge of revolt. Maxentius meanwhile works to calm a restive and dissenting Roman populace. When the two forces clash in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, there are factors at work beyond their control and soon they are left with carnage.
There is only one way Constantine and Maxentius’ rivalry will end. With one on a bloodied sword and the other the sole ruler of Rome…
Well my fellow peeps and fellow travelers along this road to Rome, we have reached the conclusion of this masterpiece of a trilogy. I am simply in awe of how this duo meshed together in such a way as to not only have the reader read the agonies and torments, but to feel them as well. In the first two books we watched a lifelong relationship bloom and then fracture apart like the petals of a rose after a hard frost. The angst and frustration of those first two, so real, so visceral, crescendos in Gods of Rome. The events that transpire in this volume takes that fractured relationship, bringing it to a head: an explosive like roar of a rushing river bursting through a dam. I am simply in awe at how Simon and Gordon intertwined the events between the two implacable enemies with the opposing religious forces that threaten both sides in the conflict. I tell you my fellow peeps and fellow travelers, the climatic battle is a thing of page turning wonder. The treachery, the diabolic goings on…I will say no more. 🙂
I knew a long time ago, when Simon and Gordon started planning this trilogy, that it was going to be a joy to read. I was right.
About the authors
Simon Turney is the author of the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, as well as The Damned Emperor series for Orion and Tales of the Empire series for Canelo. He is based in Yorkshire.
Gordon Doherty is the author of the Legionary and Strategos series, and wrote the Assassin’s Creed tie-in novel Odyssey. He is based in Scotland.
Facebook: Aries Fiction
The Cottian Alpes, 27th January 312 ad
We moved through the mountains like winter wolves. The ferocious blizzard sped southwards
with us, carried on the famous bora winds, singing a dire song. For days we marched through
that driving snow, seeing nothing but great white-clad peaks either side of us; rugged,
inhospitable highlands which in these frozen months soldiers were not meant to cross. All
around me the gale screamed, boots crunched endlessly through the successively deeper drifts
of white, men’s teeth chattered violently, mules brayed, exhausted. It felt at times as if we were
wandering, snow-blind, to our deaths, but I knew what lay ahead… so close now.
I called upon my chosen men and a handful of their best soldiers – a group of thirty – and we
roved ahead of the army like advance scouts. The blizzard raked through my bear cloak, the
snow rattling like slingshot against my gemmed ridge helm and bronze scales as I scoured the
valley route. Yet I refused to blink. When the speeding hail of white slowed and the murky
grey ahead thinned a little, I saw them: a pair of stone and timber watchtowers, northern faces
plastered in snow. Gateposts watching this passage between two realms. I dropped to my
haunches behind the brow of a snowdrift and my chosen men hunkered down with me. I gazed
over the drift’s brow, regarding the narrow gap between the towers and the valley route beyond,
on through the winter-veined mountains. Thinking of the land that lay beyond these heights,
my frozen lips moved soundlessly.
Land of Roman forefathers. Home of the man I had once considered my friend… but that
territory was rightfully mine. Mine! My surging anger scattered when I spotted movement atop
one of the two towers: a freezing Maxentian scout blowing into his hands, oblivious to our
presence. Then the blizzard fell treacherously slack, and the speeding veil of white cleared for
a trice. I saw his ice-crusted eyebrows rise as he leaned forward, peering into the momentary
clarity, right at us. His eyes bulged, mouth agog.
‘He is here!’ he screamed to be heard over the sudden return of the storm’s wrath. ‘Constantine
With a wet punch, an arrow whacked into the man’s chest and shuddered there. He spasmed
then folded over the edge of the timber parapet and fell like a sack of gravel, crunching into a
pillowy snowdrift at the turret’s foot. I glanced to my right, seeing my archer nock and draw
again, shifting his bow to the heights of the other tower, his eyes narrowing within the shadow
of his helm brow. He loosed, but the dark-skinned sentry up there ducked behind the parapet,
screaming and tolling a warning bell. At once, three more Maxentians spilled from the door at
the base of that rightmost tower, rushing south towards a simple, snow-topped stable twenty
paces away, in the lee of a rocky overhang. This was one of the few gateways through the
mountains – albeit the least favoured and most treacherous – and it was guarded by just five
men? Instantly, suspicion and elation clashed like swords in my mind. We had no time to rake
over the facts. These watchmen could not be allowed to ride south and warn the legions of
Italia. They had to die.