Release Date: 04/06/15
Still recovering from his previous assignment in Arabia, imperial agent Cassius Corbulo has been spending most of his time and money on women and wine. Unfortunately for him, word of his achievements has reached the emperor Aurelian's deputy and he is sent north, tasked with smashing a counterfeiting gang.
Cassius tracks the criminals to the city of Berytus, where his investigations are hampered by civil unrest and uncooperative officials, not to mention the personal problems of his servant Simo and bodyguard Indavara. Despite this - and intense pressure from his superiors - the young officer eventually closes in on the gang.
But his enemies will do anything to protect their profits, and Cassius and Indavara soon find themselves fighting not only for the emperor, but for their very survival.
The fifth outing for Nick Browns Corbulo and one that makes not only the reader think about events within but also the cast of characters. Its definitely a book that has some high octane moments, wonderfully woven around a solid plot but as with the others, the thing that really strikes me each time I read one of the series is the character interaction. The dialogue is wonderful, the way that each of the principle cast members add their own strengths and weaknesses to the group and when taken as a whole, allows the reader to see that even the strongest have chinks in their emotional and personal armour at times.
All round another cracking story and one that really does give me a title that is not only a pure joy to read but one that goes to show that by allowing characters to grow rather than staying with a rigid formula gives better results all round for readers to savour. Cracking stuff.