Friday, 28 June 2013

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: The Sword and the Throne - Henry Venmore-Rowland

Release Date: 20/06/13
Publisher:  Bantam


AD 69. Aulus Caecina Severus has thrown in his lot with the hedonistic Vitellius and prepares his legions for a gruelling march over the Alps. Driven by the desire to repay the treachery of his former patron, the Emperor Galba, and to keep his rival Valens in check, Severus leads his army against barbarian rebellions and against the mountains themselves in his race to reach Italy first. With the vast Po valley almost in sight, news reaches the army that Galba has been killed in a coup, and that Otho has been declared Emperor by the Praetorians who he had bribed to murder their own emperor. But there is no turning back for Severus, even if he wanted to. The Rhine legions want their man on the throne, and they won't stop until they reach Rome itself. Even once Otho is defeated, the battle for supremacy between Severus and Valens is far from over. The politics of the court and the mob is the new battleground, and Severus needs the help of his wife Salonina and his freedman Totavalas in this constant game of thrones. When stories spread of a new power in the east, Severus has to decide where his real loyalty lies: to his Emperor, to his city or to himself?


I love a historical period that I really don’t know too much about as the events within come as a complete surprise to me. Being thrust into this world for the second time by Henry was something that I was a little worried about. Not that I didn’t expect a great read but the fact that book two for any author is the make or break for anyone.

What Henry does well is bring the time to life wonderfully, he gives the reader a principle character that they can really associate with, solid prose and of course a wonderfully woven tapestry of double dealing, political machinations alongside twists and turns that really do keep you guessing throughout. All round a cracking title and one that really has helped bring the author to the historical fiction scene.

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