Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Masters of Rome by Gordon Doherty and Simon Turney, the second book in their Rise of Emperors trilogy. Masters of Rome is published today as an ebook by Aries and will be published in hardback on 13th May 2021. My thanks to Lauren at Head of Zeus for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my digital review copy via NetGalley. Do check out the post by my tour buddy for today, M J Porter.
About the Book
Their rivalry will change the world forever.
As competition for the imperial throne intensifies, Constantine and Maxentius realise their childhood friendship cannot last. Each man struggles to control their respective quadrant of empire, battered by currents of politics, religion and personal tragedy, threatened by barbarian forces and enemies within.
With their positions becoming at once stronger and more troubled, the strained threads of their friendship begin to unravel. Unfortunate words and misunderstandings finally sever their ties, leaving them as bitter opponents in the greatest game of all, with the throne of Rome the prize.
It is a matter that can only be settled by outright war…
Format: ebook (338 pages) Publisher: Aries
Publication date: 4th March 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find Masters of Rome (Rise of Emperors #2) on Goodreads
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Sadly I’ve yet to find time to read the first book in the series, Sons Of Rome, although you can read an extract from it here. However, thanks to the brief references to previous events scattered throughout the opening chapters of the book, I didn’t feel at any disadvantage. In addition, the comprehensive historical notes at the end of the book provide a useful factual summary of the political situation at the time.
The authors throw the reader right into the action with an account of a ferocious battle between the forces of Constantine and a barbarian tribe in a Frankish forest. It’s one of the first in a series of great set pieces in the book including a chariot race in the Circus Maximus that could have straight out of the film Ben Hur, and a battle on a frozen river.
Told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Constantine in Gaul and Maxentius in Rome, it soon becomes apparent that although they may be rivals for control of the Roman Empire, they share a similar range of problems – religious conflict, personal tragedy as well as political, military and financial concerns. In fact, their position is neatly summed up by the chief of the Bructeri tribe when he remarks to Constantine, “I know of the the dark pall of trouble that gathers over your empire. Factions forming. Armies swelling. A storm of war is coming”.
More than anything, Constantine and Maxentius regret the demise of their former friendship. At one point, the death of a mutual foe seems to offer a glimpse of a different future. ‘It was one of those moments where the world hangs in the balance. Where destiny spins on a knifepoint.’ As students of this period of history will know that moment of opportunity passes making a clash between the two men inevitable.
Masters of Rome is the story of a struggle for power waged between, and often within, families. As you would expect from two such well-regarded authors of historical fiction, there is a wealth of detail about everything from weaponry to social customs, religious practices and Roman curses. The book ends at a tantalizing point in the two former friends’ rivalry setting things up nicely for what will be the final instalment in the trilogy.
In three words: Action-packed, gripping, immersive
About the Authors
Simon Turney is the author of the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, as well as The Damned Emperor series for Orion and Tales of the Empire series for Canelo. He is based in Yorkshire.
Gordon Doherty is the author of the Legionary and Strategos series, and wrote the Assassin’s Creed tie-in novel Odyssey. He is based in Scotland.