Release Date: 18/08/11
Gaius Valerius Verrens returns to Rome from the successful campaign against Boudicca in Britain. Now hailed a ‘Hero of Rome’, Valerius is not the man he once was – scarred both physically and emotionally by the battles he has fought, his sister is mortally ill, his father in self-imposed exile. And neither is Rome the same city as the one he left.
The Emperor Nero grows increasingly paranoid. Those who seek power for themselves whisper darkly in the emperor’s ears. They speak of a new threat, one found within the walls of Rome itself. A new religious sect, the followers of Christus, deny Nero’s divinity and are rumoured to be spreading sedition.
Nero calls on his ‘Hero of Rome’ to become a ‘Defender of Rome’, to seek out this rebel sect, to capture their leader, a man known as Petrus. Failure would be to forfeit his life, and the lives of twenty thousands Judaeans living in Rome. But as Valerius begins his search, a quest which will take him to the edge of the empire, he will discover that success may cost him nearly as much as failure.
If you’re a fan of Historical Fiction, then the odds are that you’ve noticed the steady rise of an author by the name of Douglas Jackson, his stories are vivid, the cast spectacular and of course his writing style wonderfully balances the needs of combat with the smarts of lulls and peaks to keep the reader enthralled.
Here in the second book in his latest series (the first being Hero of Rome) Valerius returns triumphant from the previous title to face the slings and arrows or Roman Politics as well as the madness of the Emperor only to be manipulated on a highly dangerous mission that could cost as much to him for success as for failure. It’s cleverly written, the plot line is fast moving and of course the reader is left on tenterhooks from start to finish as to the fate of many of the cast. Add to this great characterisation and a lead hero who is fully rounded and it’s a title that demonstrates just how much Douglas has grown from his first book. Excellent stuff.