Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
As the blurb states, Quintus Furius Varus is one of the best lanistas in Rome. “Tall and strong in build, fearsome in manner, and sharp of wit, he trains the best gladiators bound for the arenas of Rome.” So when Senator Servius Augendus seeks personal guards, he comes to Quintus with an offer he literally cannot refuse, and Quintus ends up in Neapolis, contracted as a trainer of guards, and head of the guards assigned to protect Servius. The only good thing to Quintus is the contract period is limited, so once the threat is removed, Quintus can go home to his gladiators and resume his peaceful existence.
Kaeso Agorix was abducted from Iberia and brought to Rome as a slave. Purchased by Servius, he’s handed over to Quintus to train, and he’s given to Quintus as a personal slave for as long as Quintus is in Servius’s employ. By the time Quintus discovers Servius’s treachery and plot to gain power, not only his life is in danger, but also the lives of Kaeso and Quintus’s other gladiators. What follows is a complex plot of assassination and treachery and involves not only Quintus and his gladiators, but also Servius and his slaves, and the emperor and his royal guard, the praetorian.
This story is very, very long and very, very complex with characters who have Ancient Roman names, so it takes time to get to know each one, and it takes quite a long time to understand the politics and the atmosphere of the times. That all being said—it is time well-spent. A grand saga, created by the fertile imagination of NR Walker, the character development is outstanding in this large cast of mighty Roman warriors and deceitful Roman politicians. It’s interesting and exciting and the last chapters fly by quickly. I am happy to report that readers should be satisfied by the outcome, and it’s certainly worth sticking it out to the end.
I liked the character development as well as the world-building. Days after finishing, I’m still thinking about Quintus and Kaeso and wondering how they fared after the last chapter ended. In other words, I felt as if I was reading real history, and I want to go to Google to look them up. Seriously though, the author created an amazing saga with characters I won’t forget any time soon, and I very highly recommend it.
The cover features a Roman guard, holding sword and shield, on the battlefield with the sun coming up behind him. Beautifully done, it’s symbolic of the new guard—the nova praetorian.
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 394 pages
Published October 24th 2018 by BlueHeart Press
Edition Language English