Macbain, Bruce - 'Roman Games'
What a fantastic treat this book is! If you love books full of the backstabbing tyranny that ran rife in Roman times, then this one is just for you. Cleverly entitled ROMAN GAMES, the story is not about gladiators, or even feeding people to the lions, but looks at the lies and deceit that seemed to be commonplace in Rome when the emperors ruled and life was cheap.
Roman senator Pliny the Younger is the star of this story. Newly promoted and currently the acting vice-prefect for Rome, he is a lawyer by trade and certainly no detective. When the notorious imperial senator Sextus Ingentius Verpa is found stabbed to death in his bed one morning, and his house slaves are considered to be the likely culprits, Pliny is called in to investigate the crime. He is not comfortable with this commission and has just 14 days to complete the task before the slaves will be considered guilty, regardless of the truth, and burnt alive in the arena. Things are not as they seem and Pliny, who is a compassionate soul, does not want the slaves killed for something that they obviously didn't do. Time is not on his side, however, and he must work quickly to save the slaves. The plot that he uncovers is truly dark and disturbing but this is just the start of his trouble.
I zipped quickly through this awesome story, and finished it in two days. Not that it isn't well written - I just couldn't tear myself away from it. The author of ROMAN GAMES, Bruce Macbain, is a classical scholar by training and has taught Greek and Roman history. His knowledge of the time he is writing about is clearly evident and only adds to the richness of this wonderful tale.
Extremely highly recommended.
Read another review of ROMAN GAMES.
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland