Harry Sidebottom : The Last Hour (2018) Review

Harry Sidebottom's picture

Harry Sidebottom is Lecturer in Ancient History at Merton College, Oxford, and part-time lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. He has written for and contributed to many publications, including Classical Review, Journal of Roman Studies, and War and Society in the Roman World.

The Last Hour (2018)
(The seventh book in the Warrior of Rome series)

book cover of The Last Hour

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A lone figure stands silhouetted atop the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Behind him, the sun is setting over the centre of the known world. Far below, the river is in full flood. The City of Rome lies spread out before him on the far bank. Footsteps pound up the stairs. He’s been set up. An enemy is closing in; he is cornered. He jumps.

Bruised and battered, he crawls out of the raging river. He is alone and unarmed, without money or friends, trapped in a deadly conspiracy at the heart of the Empire. The City Watch has orders to take him alive; other, more sinister, forces want him dead. As the day dies, he realises he has only 24 hours to expose the conspirators, and save the leader of the world. If the Emperor dies, chaos and violence will ensue. If the Emperor dies, every single person he loves will die.

He must run, bluff, hide and fight his way across the Seven Hills.
He must reach the Colosseum, and the Emperor.
He must make it to The Last Hour.


Harry Sidebottom continues the saga of Ballista a romanised barbarian, a man of two worlds, forced to live as a Roman hostage and accept that his life is that of a Warrior of Rome (see what i did there). Ballista has formed the core character that launched Harry as a major Historical Fiction writer, a writer with an uncompromising accuracy of the Roman world (well he does teach at Oxford).

Book 7 The Last Hour is however something new, not just for Harry, but in general for the Historical Fiction genre. The Last Hour is a Historical Fiction / Action Thriller cross over, a new section in the book shop: Historical Action Thriller. Its Ballista in Rome in a 24 Jack Bauer style, a novel that pits Ballista against the Praetorian Guard, the City watch and the dreaded Frumentarii in a chase at break neck speed around the Roman Capital, unraveling a political consspiracy, a chase encapsulating some of the greatest iconic buildings of the time brought to glorious life by Harry’s blisteringly fast paced writing.

Who will survive, who can help Ballista, can he succeed in making it to the emperor or at least getting a message to him, and thus save his life.

Harry Sidebottom manages to keep you the reader perched on the very edge of the page throughout the book, with regular chapter ending cliffhangers that make  a book that you cannot put down and will lose sleep over (i did… well i have insomnia and it made a good companion at 3am, but i couldn’t have slept if i tried).

I very Highly recommend this book, hands down the best in the series so far.


Warrior of Rome
1. Fire in the East (2008)
2. King of Kings (2009)
3. Lion of the Sun (2010)
4. The Caspian Gates (2011)
5. The Wolves of the North (2012)
6. The Amber Road (2013)
7. The Last Hour (2018)
Warrior of Rome Series 6 Books Collection (omnibus)(2017)
Throne of the Caesars
1. Iron & Rust (2014)
2. Blood & Steel (2015)
3. Fire & Sword (2016)
Silence & Lies (2015)
Shadow & Dust (2016)
Smoke & Mirrors (2017)


Filed under Harry Sidebottom, Historical Fiction, Thrillers

2 responses to “Harry Sidebottom : The Last Hour (2018) Review

  1. Pingback: Parmenions Fav Books of 2017 | parmenionbooks

  2. Pingback: 2018…. and the books to come….. | parmenionbooks

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