Gaius Valerius Verrens has returned to Rome and is made a Hero Of Rome by the Emperor, Nero for his actions and bravery in Britain. Of course being in Nero’s spotlight isn’t always a good thing as Verrens finds out after having been solicited by Nero and then given an almost impossible task, apprehending Petrus, the leader of a new religious sect that threatens to undermine Roman society and politics.
The author has given us a story of much intrigue and has populated the main story line with many obstacles for Verrens to negotiate and overcome in this exciting sequel. While the first book was of a military mindset, this one is more of a detective story set mostly in and around Rome itself. That in and of itself shows the author’s ability to move his main character into a situation involving different skills while building on the lessons learned and confidence gained in his earlier experiences.
A page turning tale that brings one face to face with power politics, religious fervor and the struggle to satisfy a capricious leader, I heartily recommend this book and series.
When I mentioned on social networks that I was reading Hero of Rome by Douglas Jackson I was informed that I was going to love this book. Well between the time I started it and finished it I had begun writing my own novel(my first)…the main reason it took me so long to finish Hero. Normally I would have read a book this intriguing in a much shorter time frame but I needed to take time to get my efforts off the ground. The biggest problem I have encountered while having both balls in the air is this; Douglas Jackson is masterful. If I can be one-quarter as descriptive…if I can be one-tenth the character developer that he is, I will be a happy author. He has written a book that draws you right into the hearts and minds of his characters, most especially the main character, Gaius Valerius Verrens.
The place is Britain prior to and then during Boudicca’s revolt. Valerius is a Tribune assigned to Colonia, the town where the temple to Claudius was built. He is due to return to Rome to begin his climb up the political ladder but finds himself instead in an impossible situation having to defend the town against a force of really ticked off British tribes that is at least ten times larger than what he has at his disposal. The first part of the book deals with the politics and policies used by Rome to bring Britain into “civilization”. Naturally some Roman officials are overly dismissive of these barbarians in their charge and that is the fuel that ignites the tinderbox that Boudicca fans into a full fledged bloody revolt. The last part of the book, the revolt itself, is an edge of the seat, page turning brilliant example of great historical fiction writing. When I finished I knew I would be reading the rest of the books in this series which I am told by my social network friends are even better than the first. Oh my!