Richard Blake is a historian, broadcaster and university lecturer. He lives in Kent with his wife and daughter.
The Roman Empire faces the barbarian horde.
Decadent, desperate Athens is the Roman Empire’s most vulnerable city.
Aelric – senator of the Roman Empire, fresh from a bloodbath in Egypt that may or may not be regarded in Constantinople as his fault – is forced to divert the Imperial galley to Athens for reasons the Emperor has neglected to share with him.
He finds a demoralized and corrupt provincial city threatened by an army rumoured to contain twenty million starving barbarians.
Not to mention an explosive religious dispute, an unexplained corpse, and hints of something worse than murder. Is he on a high level mission to save the Empire? Or has he been set up to fail? Or is the truth even worse than he can at first imagine?
He will have to call upon all his formidable intellect and lethal ingenuity to survive his enemies inside and outside the city walls . . .
I have I believe been fortunate to read all of Richard Blake’s novels, since the release of The Column of Phocas, later re-released as Conspiracies of Rome in 2008.
Every novel has been a delight for a reader of Historical fiction and also those who love conspiracies with twists and turns and deep intrigue. I wont say that you come to love the hero of this series Aleric, but you learn to follow him and his adventures and his growth through the roman world.
The Author Richard Blake (AKA Sean Gabb) is a Historian, his depth of knowledge come across clearly in the books, his attention to detail is to a level that breathes life into the Roman world (for some it may seem too much, but stick with it, this sin some dusty history lesson, this is history come to life).
Our Hero (Aleric) is a complex man, part cultured Roman, part ass kicking semi sociopathic barbarian, just as capable of delivering a fine oration as he is of stabbing you in the groin and watching you bleed out. There is however no gratuitous violence, only the violence that fits the plot and the period, this is not the PC modern world. A man lived by his wits, brains, skill with weapons and reputation, as well as his perceived station on the Roman world.
This is not the world of Caesar, this is the decline of the Empire, Just as Rome descended into a mire of corruption and ineffective aloof leaders who cared nothing for the commons, the east , the last bastion of the roman world is heading the same way, the chaos and confusion of Byzantine politics abounds, corruption is the watchword of politics. Add in religion and you have an explosive world teetering on the edge of collapse.
Aleric fresh from a bloodbath in Egypt has a reputation to salve, many blaming him for the bloodbath, find himself diverted to Athens, no reasons are not shared with him and the City of Athens is not the glorious capital of antiquity, now a provincial city under threat from a rabble that only size can call an army. Its not a situation that any would relish lacking a true order from his emperor he doesn’t even know if he is on a true mission or being set up by his rivals / enemies.
Can he survive this latest mission?
Buy the book at less than £6.50 it’s a bargain for all contained in the pages
1. Conspiracies of Rome (2008)
2. The Terror of Constantinople (2009)
3. The Blood of Alexandria (2010)
4. The Sword of Damascus (2011)
5. The Ghosts of Athens (2012)
6. The Curse of Babylon (2013)