Title: Swords Around the Throne (Twilight of Empire II)
Author(s): Ian Ross
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reading this book has been a wonderful experience since it made me recall my love for the Roman civilization and history in general. I’ve always felt a great interest in all aspects of the Roman and Greek civilizations and when I got the offer to review this book I accepted without doubting. I started right away and man, I’m glad I did. I gave it a 3.5 stars rating because I feel like the plot and the characters could’ve been executed better but it was infinitely entertaining and the writing was excellent!
Rome is in peril. The old order is changing – and Centurion Aurelius Castus has been summoned back from Britain, to find himself caught up in a treasonous conspiracy threatening to bring down the Emperor Constantine.
Rewarding for saving the Emperor’s life in battle, Castus is promoted to the Corps of Protectores, the elite imperial bodyguard. The swords around the throne.
But he soon discovers the court to be as dangerous as the battlefield; behind the gilded façade of empire, there are spiralling plots, betrayals and seductions. A nest of traitors. And one relentless enemy.
It is the second in a series however they are not connected. You don’t have to read the first book to read the second; and I didn’t read the first one. I might give it a chance very soon since I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was the pace. There were moments where it felt a little slow but most of the time it was fast-paced; leaving you with the need to keep reading. There’s a certain series of events that surprised me and I really appreciate when a book is able to do that. As every history book there is a complex plot going on and the author achieves a rock-solid plot without being confusing or tiring. I would say this book is somewhere between Game of Thrones and your average YA historical fiction novel.
As a historical novel it is one of the best works I’ve seen around. You get to experience the time they were living, their traditions, their fashion and everything you can think of. It is definitely well-researched!
The main characters are likable but they were too memorable. I didn’t LOVE any of them but at the same time I very much enjoyed reading about them. There were plenty of characters and all of them were unique in their own way.
If you’re looking for an interesting take on the Roman empire and a top-notch historical novel give it a chance!
About the Author
Ian Ross has been researching and writing about the later Roman world and its army for over a decade. He spent a year in Italy, teaching English, but now lives in Bath.