Nick was in Norwich in 1974. A keen reader from a young age, he graduated from Enid Blyton to Douglas Hill and JRR Tolkien, and from there to Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton. After three years studying in Brighton, he travelled to Nepal where he worked at an orphanage and trekked to Mount Everest. After qualifying as a history teacher in 2000, he worked for five years in England before taking up a post at an international school in Warsaw.
Nick had completed a few screenplays and a futuristic thriller before being inspired to try historical fiction after reading C.J. Sansom’s Dissolution: “Researching the Roman army and life in the third century was a fascinating but time-consuming project and the book went through many drafts before arriving at its final form. I had always intended Cassius to be a somewhat atypical protagonist and when I came across the research about the Roman ‘secret service’, I knew I’d found an ideal vocation for my reluctant hero.”
Recently, most of Nick’s spare time has been spent on the second Agent of Rome novel, but if he’s not writing he might be found at the cinema, in a bar, on a boat, or playing poker.
I will start this review with the fact that i really enjoyed Siege the first book in this series. The reason i loved it has been carried through to this book and so in my opinion has made it also a great success. The hero Cassius is a great reluctant hero, he doesn’t try to go out there and do great deeds he just either stumbles into them and does his best, or he uses his great deductive skills and intelligence and drops him self right in the middle of all the trouble in the world.
Not since Saylor (Gordianus the Finder) and Davies (Falco) has there been an attempt to have a Roman detective type character, and in the case of Cassius he is a member of the ‘service’ the Frumentarii. The thing is, i found Gordianus the Finder to be a little implausible and Falco to be a bit of a…well caricature, where as Cassius is real, warts and all, young naive, learning on the fly, screwing up on a regular basis and hopefully learning from those mistakes. But also still a product of his patrician background with the underlying arrogance and bigotry that comes with it.
This latest book is told with all of the above, wrapped up in a powerful complex twisty plot that thrills with every page, it kept me up until 2am several nights running. The main character is balanced beautifully with his servant/ slave Simo a closet christian and all round nice guy, and the absolute star of this book Indavara, a young man abused most of his life, yet strong willed and skilled enough to have earned his freedom from the Games, yest still a man flawed (rather than the boring infallible hero).
This is a truly excellent book, definitely not your average swords and Sandals blood fest, a great plot with great characters and still loaded with action.
Background on the book:
Praise for AGENT OF ROME: THE SIEGE — : ‘Agent of Rome is a masterful debut from a new author completely at home in this era; the writing is deft, the action swift and bloody and the characters believable and engaging. I look forward greatly to the next one.’ — Manda Scott ‘Once the action kicks off you won’t be able to put it down.’ — Anthony Riches, author of the Empire series ‘Brown’s intelligent and exhilarating story excels in its perfect pace, vivid combat sequences and superb characterisation. The Siege delivers a thrilling coming-of-age adventure with an unlikely but likeable hero whose exploits are set to win an army of fans’ — Lancashire Evening Post ‘Brown promises to be one of the most exciting sword-wielding writers in an ever-popular arena. In this, his debut, his principal is a 19-year-old fresh-faced officer commanding 100 men in defence of a Syrian stronghold against a vastly superior force. There are echoes of Beau Geste in this death-or-glory stand.’ — The Oxford Times ‘The Siege is an excellent debut novel and delivers a thrilling and fascinating coming-of-age adventure’ — Book Gazette ‘Nick Brown has the craft of storytelling at his fingertips … The Siege is a fast-paced and satisfying read’ — Russell Whitfield, author of Gladiatrix
The link will take you to Nicks web site and the ability to buy signed copies of book 1 The Seige.