Galba’s Men by L.J. Trafford


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.  🙂

Palatine by L.J. Trafford


Depraved, deluded and plainly not playing with a full deck, Nero ruled the world mostly through his imperial staff.  It is the staff that the author focuses on in this, the first part of the Year of Four Emperors.  Her characters include Nero’s personal secretary, the two Praetorian Prefects, the lowly messengers, the slaves and freedmen who made life possible in the palace complex.  It is through their eyes and actions that we witness the downfall and overthrow of Nero.  The author has given us an entertaining read full of drama and emotion and characters that are well written and who run the gamut from the lovable(Artemina) to the despicable(Sabinus); from the ostentatious, larger than life(Nero, Sporos) to the lowly slaves dwelling in the clutches of overseers and power hungry freedmen.  The dialogue is crisp and quite witty, if just a tad modern at times and yet that did not dampen my enjoyment.  Indeed I am looking forward to reading more of this series.  4 stars.

About the author:

After gaining a BA Hons in Ancient History LJ Trafford toured the amphitheaters of western europe before a collision with a moped in Rome left her unable to cross the road.
Which was a shame because there was some really cool stuff on the other side.
Returning to the UK somewhat battered and certainly very bruised she spent several years working as a tour guide. A perfect introduction to writing, involving as it did, the need for entertainment and a hefty amount of invention (it’s how she got tips).
She now works in London doing something whizzy with computers.

Palatine is the first in the Four Emperors series. Book Two is Galba’s Men, to be followed by Otho’s Regret and Vitellius’ Feast.

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Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn


Okay, I am now convinced beyond all doubt.  I have read Mistress of Rome, The Three Fates and Kate Quinn’s contribution to Day of Fire and through reading these books I noticed that a certain amount of talent lie within her pen and keyboard.  What put me over the edge in my nascent admiration, is chapter 17 in Daughters of Rome, the chariot race chapter.  What Judah Ben-Hur and Messala did for chariot racing on the big screen, Kate does in chapter 17.for the written word.  Now that’s not meant to take away from the rest of the book; oh no, not by any means.  The author has portrayed four Cornelian noble women and their seeming ever changing fortunes during the infamous Year of the Four Emperors.  With each new emperor a new level of growth for our four heroines from the loosening of Cornelia’s stubborn resolve to the change from the ‘oh woe is me’ Marcella to the ‘instrument of change’ Marcella.  Lollias’ coming to grips with love and the sheer number of emotions experienced by Diana in chapter 17, well that alone is worth the price of admission, dear reader. Yes, I am convinced, Kate Quinn can write pretty good.  5 stars