Nick was born 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 fourth Agent of Rome novel, but if he’s not writing he might be found at the cinema, in a pub or playing football.
Still recovering from his previous assignment in Arabia, imperial agent Cassius Corbulo has been spending most of his time and money on women and wine. Unfortunately for him, word of his achievements has reached the emperor Aurelian’s deputy and he is sent north, tasked with smashing a counterfeiting gang. Cassius tracks the criminals to the city of Berytus, where his investigations are hampered by civil unrest and uncooperative officials, not to mention the personal problems of his servant Simo and bodyguard Indavara. Despite this – and intense pressure from his superiors – the young officer eventually closes in on the gang. But his enemies will do anything to protect their profits, and Cassius and Indavara soon find themselves fighting not only for the emperor, but for their very survival.
For me this is one of the stand out series in Roman fiction, something different, not built around battles, it follows the exploits of Cassius an officer of the “Grain Men” or the Frumentarii. In this tale we follow our due of Cassius and Indavara on what should be a more quiet and sedate posting to uncover a counterfeiting ring, something more cerebral and more suited to Cassius talents than Indavara’s (the ex gladiator who has saved them from more than a few life threatening escapades). Only things never go quite how our young scholarly soldier hopes, and more often that not he has to rely on Indavara’s prowess and size to get them out of trouble.
Never a simple tale Nick Brown manages to twist and turn the plot, keeping you guessing as to if, how and when he might catch the leaders of the counterfeiting ringleaders. The author throughout the book manages to keep the reader not only on the edge of their seat, but wanting to flick that next page, page after page after page, meaning that you may lose sleep (please note health warning here) you may well be tired at work (watch that heavy machinery) and you will finish it before you know whats happening, and like me when you read the last paragraph you will probably have the odd expletive. The book keeps you guessing and hanging to the end, and leaves a hook in you for the next book. But deeper than the crime story and the adventure is the relationship building of our main characters, Simo (the man-servant / slave) included. The close proximity of the three, often undercover, leads to a blending of personality types, a shared learning and as the books have progressed character growth. Cassius has learned to view others views and feelings, Simo has pushed forward with his beliefs but learned to moderate his pushing of the faith, and Indavara is learning who and what he is, and how he truly feels about things (given he has no memory prior to the arena)…. I feel we will soon learn more about Indavara and his past, and i am very excited by the prospect.
I find myself as always struggling to find the right niche for this author, it’s not just Roman fiction, it’s not just historical crime, it’s not just adventure and action, it seamlessly combines all elements into a perfectly rounded and highly entertaining book.
i cant wait for the next book
1. The Siege (2011)
2. The Imperial Banner (2012)
3. The Far Shore (2013)
4. The Black Stone (2014)
5. The Emperor’s Silver (2015)
The Flames of Cyzicus (2015)
The Eleventh Hour (2013)