The Senator’s Assignment by Joan E. Histon

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The Senator’s Assignment by Joan E Histon

Paperback: 272 pages

  • Publisher:Top Hat Books (26 Oct. 2018)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1785358553
  • ISBN-13:978-1785358555

 

BLURB: Being trusted by a Caesar makes him an enemy of the Roman who crucified Jesus Christ, and puts him under threat from Rome itself Rome 30 AD. A Senator is plunged into the dark heart of the Roman Empire, sent to investigate the corrupt practices of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem by Caesar Tiberius. In this tense historical thriller can Senator Vivius Marcianus outmanoeuvre charges of treason, devastating secrets resurfaced from his own troubled past, and the political snake pit of Rome to save himself and the woman he loves?

REVIEW: 

It’s one thing to be given a mission from Tiberius himself, it’s quite another when that mission is to find proof of treason on none other than Aelius Sejanus. The protagonist in this lively tale, Senator Vivius Marcianus, intelligent, thoughtful, resourceful – all qualities he needs to survive the shrewd, calculating Pilate and his equally conniving wife while in Palestine, and the ensnaring tentacles of Sejanus while in Rome. This particular rendition of Sejanus, his unfettered lust for power, is worthy of Sir Patrick Stewart’s portrayal in I, Claudius.  The environs of Rome and various Palestine locations, ripe with the smells, discordant with the noise, pulsing with intrigue, provide a perfect backdrop to the events, and activities Vivius endures in an ever deepening, and dangerous mission. A splendid, entertaining tale – another glimpse into the Tiberius/Sejanus relationship.

4 stars

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Joan Histon has a background as a professional counsellor. She began her writing career as a ghost writer when two clients expressed an interest in telling their own dramatic stories.

After the publication of Thy Will be Done… Eventually! and Tears in the Dark, she was commissioned to write the true story of ‘The Shop on Pilgrim Street’. Having also published short stories in several national magazines, The Senator’s Assignment is Joan’s debut novel.

As well as writing, Joan is a Methodist local preacher, a gifted story-teller, spiritual director, mother and a reluctant gardener. She lives in Hexham, Northumberland with her husband, Colin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Soldier of Rome: Heir to Rebellion: Book Three of the Artorian Chronicles by James Mace

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Artorius and company are garrisoned in Lugdunum after quelling the Sacrovir revolt but there is still a remnant of the rebellion, led by Heracles, and he is terrorizing the area looking for revenge.  The author delivers, once again, an exciting tale of intrigue filled with action, anguish, and even love.  Artorius continues to develop and is becoming  much more complicated and well rounded and is only one of the interesting characters the author has created.  Without giving away any of the story I can state that Heracles, a former leader of the Sacrovir Rebellion, is one nasty piece of work and the plans he executes are loaded with atrocities…atrocities that hit close to home for Artorius and his cohort commander.  All in all, it is an enjoyable read that gives the reader glimpses of what it was like to be part of a Roman legion with a sub-plot of Sejanus’ relationship with Tiberius and his grab for power. 4.3 stars….looking forward to book 4.

 

 

 

 

Rome’s Executioner – Vespasian 2 by Robert Fabbri

Rome’s Executioner – Vespasian 2 by Robert Fabbri

                I must confess that when I read Tribune of Rome, the first book in the series, it took a while for me to get enthused as the beginning seemed to go a little slow but once the story gained momentum it gained my attention.  The momentum carried over to volume two and this book had me from the start.  The main plot concerns Vespasian being sent on a seemingly impossible mission to capture a loathsome renegade Thracian priest who may or may not be the key in bringing down the terror ridden reign of Aelius Sejanus who if I may interject was so wonderfully portrayed by Sir Patrick Stewart in I, Claudius, lo those many years ago when Sir Patrick had hair.

Vespasian has grown in the years between the two books into a more daunting and resolute individual.  Gone for good is the hesitant, unsure boy who now longs for two primary things, the downfall of Sejanus and the continuing relationship he has with Antonia’s favorite slave, Caenis.  Another example of a character that shines through the pages is Antonia the daughter of Marcus Antonius, mother to Claudius and his vile sister Livilla and grandmother to Gaius Caligula.   She is the epitome of a noble family matron, strong, cunning and fixed with an indomitable will and spirit.  What separates her from other portrayals of this remarkable woman that I have seen or read is that she is also very human and does not let her age, 60’s, curtail her libidinous urges.

The action is crisp, the dialogue well written and with an imaginative take on the whole how do we get to Caprae and tell Tiberius about Sejanus scenario. An inventive vocabulary, a thorough descriptiveness and well-rounded characters make this tale a pleasure to read.  One of the things I really like is the author’s humorous turns of phrase, for example this reply as to whether he was ready to head into a dangerous situation a Thracian warrior responds, ‘We have a saying in Thrace, “A faint-heart never shagged a pig’”  I cleaned that up a little for the faint of heart.

I highly recommend this book and series and look forward to the next installment and beyond.  I give this book a rating of 4.6.

A note on Hoover Book Reviews new rating policy:

In order to have a little more leeway in rating a book we at Hoover Book Reviews are adopting the following policy.  The system will still be based on 1-5 stars but with tenth of a point intervals, so a book that we in the past have rated 5 stars can now be more accurately fixed at say 4.5 or 4.2…etc etc.  Of course this will only be reflected in the review itself as I cannot change Amazon’s restrictive, whole numbers only method.