The Last Battle (Agent of Rome #7) by Nick Brown

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BLURB

Aurelian, Emperor of Rome, has one last enemy left to conquer: in Gaul, the usurper Tetricus holds sway, and Aurelian will need every last man if he is to unify his domain and bring peace to the Empire.

One of those men is Cassius Corbulo, now seconded to the legion of Prefect Venator in southern Gaul. When a leading general is abducted on the eve of battle, Cassius is ordered to find and rescue him before the enemy gain crucial intelligence. As ever he is accompanied by attendant Simo and Indavara, the ex-gladiator bodyguard. After a punishing few years, both Cassius and Indavara doubt themselves: do they still have the strength and courage to survive this deadly mission behind enemy lines?

Their foe is Volosus: a veteran agent as resourceful as Cassius but far more ruthless. If he is victorious, Tetricus will gain a crucial advantage that might turn the tide of the coming war.

Who will survive the Last Battle?

REVIEW

The finale of The Agent of Rome series, The Last Battle, is one emotional read, not only because of the content of the story, but also because it is the last of one of my favorite collection of books. The author, throughout the various missions Corbulo, Indavara and Simo are sent on has given me hours of enjoyment. Each tale in a different locale, each one with different enemies, and certainly different dangers. Book seven is no different in those respects, a rousing tale of rescue, a battle between two Roman armies to see who will rule, however, in this tale there are loose ends to tie up. The future of the main characters is dealt with in a superb, yet heart string tugging manner (I will not say more about that.) I will say that I am going to miss all of them. So my peeps and fellow readers, if you have not ventured into the Agent of Rome series, I highly recommend it. As Corbulo says to one of his companions, ‘Ah, well, glad you asked – prepare to be impressed!’  5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Earthly Gods by Nick Brown

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Indavara held captive by unknown persons for nefarious purposes.  Cassius Corbulo gone off the “Service” grid to help an old friend while he awaits any word on the whereabouts of Indavara.  The Agent of Rome series by Nick Brown is a must read for anyone interested, not only in the doings of the Roman world, but also those who like a good mystery/detective/action/thriller.   As the series has progressed, so too, have the main characters…to the point where Corbulo/Indavara/Simo have become fictional favorites of mine.  As in the previous volumes, the author gives the reader an excellent tale filled with surprises and an imagination filling description of the places and people involved.  The main difference in this episode as opposed to the earlier ones is that this one does not follow a particular historical event, but rather is more personal in it’s context giving the author a chance to explore in more detail the things that make Corbulo and company tick, exposing more of the emotions and feelings of the crew.  I eagerly await the next volume.  4.7 stars

The Emperor’s Silver – Agent of Rome 5 by Nick Brown

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After some harrowing and dangerous assignments, Cassius Corbulo is looking forward to a seemingly less life threatening job that will utilize his growing investigative skills.  So, along with his imposing bodyguard Indavara and his Christian slave Simo, Corbulo heads to the town of Berytus to uncover a counterfeiting ring.  Seemingly is the operative word in the opening sentence as the situation in this small peaceful town is hardly that.  Civil unrest, dangerous counterfeiters and a mysterious group of perceived assassins who have followed our trio make for some exciting action while Corbulo meets dead end after dead end looking for the counterfeiting gang.

The most intriguing aspects of this the 5th volume in the Agent of Rome series is the continual growth of the the three main characters, especially of Simo and Indavara.  Simo’s ever growing faith puts him at loggerheads with Corbulo on numerous occasions.  Indavara gets more interesting with every book and I was hooked on him with his arena scenes early on.  Going from a context void of a past, he has come a long way and is a more complex individual than just a skilled killer.

The author knows this time and place well as his descriptions flow out of his research and gives the reader a sense of being in the dusty streets or dingy taverns.  I wait with great anticipation for the next episode.  5 stars

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The Black Stone by Nick Brown

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Over the course of the last few years I have delved into quite a few books that are parts of a series.  The Agent of Rome series by Nick Brown being one of the best of them.  The Black Stone, the fourth book in the series, continues the adventures of Cassius Corbulo, his slave/attendant Simo and his bodyguard Indavara.  In this tale they are on the trail of the mysterious black stone, an ancient object of worship that has been stolen and one that the Emperor Aurelian really wants back.  The thief has it taken to a very remote spot in the Hejaz Mountains in Arabia where he is building a cult following for a sun god and where he is also fomenting rebellion among the nomadic tribes against Rome.  The narrative brings out a perfect feel for the inhospitable, treacherous and dangerous terrain Corbulo and his crew must cross just to get to the location.  Corbulo is not your typical Roman soldier; he is not a warrior, but a deeply sensitive and very intelligent man and it takes all of his smarts to outwit his foes.

One of the things an author must accomplish in any series of books that utilize the same main characters is a continuing sense of character development.  Nick Brown passes this test with flying colors.  The reader gets to know more and more about the three companions as the relationships between them are tested; to the limit in some instances, and one does not know until the end if they pass those tests.  Another strength of the author, the drama and intrigue of the plot, held me spellbound during the climatic last half of the book.  Once again I raise my coffee cup in salute for another masterful story and cannot wait to start on book five.  5 stars.

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The Siege – Agent of Rome by Nick Brown

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Cassius Quintius Corbulo, newly commissioned officer in the oft despised branch of the Roman army, The Frumentarii, is well aware  that he is ill equipped for the duty that has been thrust upon him.  At the ripe old age of nineteen and with no experience in field command he is tasked with saving an outpost fort that is manned by a ragtag,  veteran, under strength Century which has lost all semblance of discipline and which faces the imminent arrival of an enemy force five times their number.  Against this backdrop, the author has constructed a well crafted story filled with great characters and a tension filled plot line.  I found myself immersed in the character of Corbulo has he struggles with his self doubt and at times his overwhelming fears.  I also found myself unable to put the book down and lost a bit of sleep because of it, but that is a good quality in any book.  Well researched and written in an easy flowing style with action scenes described in a way to bring the reader into the minds of the beleaguered Romans and their adversaries.  I heartily recommend this book and will be losing more sleep when I start the sequel.  5 stars.