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.

Aqueduct to Nowhere by R.S. Gompertz

A bit about the author:


R.S. Gompertz grew up in a suburb of Disneyland. Since then, he has lived and worked in the USA, France and Spain.

He writes historical fiction served up in a thick broth of humor and adventure.

The inspiration for his first novel “No Roads Lead to Rome” came while hiking in the hills above Barcelona, Spain when he stumbled over an ancient wagon rut and realized things hadn’t changed all that much in 2000 years. The story came to him in a blinding flash that took the next 5 years to extract.

The action takes place in A.D. 123, a time not unlike the present, and chronicles the decline and fall of damn near everything.

“No Roads” was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. The book has been very popular on political humor and historical fiction lists.

The saga continues in “Aqueduct to Nowhere,” the standalone sequel to “No Roads Lead to Rome.”

While working on “No Roads,” he published a series of articles about travel and expat life, the first volume of which is now available as “The Expat’s Pajamas: Barcelona” on Kindle.

Aqueduct to Nowhere – Review

Two of my favorite genres collide in this entertaining  look see at a Saturnalia Festival in Tarraco, Roman historical fiction and humor.    Quirky characters and hilarious situations abound as the main character, Severus, tries to solve the many issues that crop up.  One corrupt governor has died and his successor is on the lam.  Severus is thrust into the position of head of Tarraco security and is faced with, among other things, finding the missing governor so he can be on hand for The Trial of the Century, solving the murder of the preceding governor, dealing with a band of Amazonian-like pirates led by the wife of the missing governor(and who is also the prosecutor of her husband), a Jewish zealot of a brother who turns everything into a diatribe against Rome, an angry crowd of fire displaced plebeians and a new set of rapacious government officials.  Oh and let us not forget the set of Praetorian assassins,a fortune telling would be girlfriend, and a pair of rumor mongering news anchors.  This story pokes fun at everything as it threads it’s way through every strata of society.  I think my favorite scene takes place on a doomed ship caught in a storm; on this ship you have four differing views on what god to pray to for help.  The sailor is a Christian, the brother is a Judean whose goal is to restore the Temple in Jerusalem, the Praetorian is a follower of Mithras and Severus talks to Neptune.  I won’t say anymore so as to not spoil anything or to influence anyone’s belief system.

Suffice to say that now that I have read Aqueduct I will be reading the prequel No Roads Lead to Rome.  5  stars given; Io Saturnalia.