Synopses & Reviews
The sixth installment in Robert Fabbri's epic Vespasian series
Rome, AD 51: Vespasian brings Rome's greatest enemy before the Emperor. After eight years of resistance, the British warrior Caratacus has been caught. But even Vespasian's victory cannot remove the newly-made consul from Roman politics: Agrippina, Emperor Claudius's wife, pardons Caratacus. Claudius is a drunken fool and Narcissus and Pallas, his freedmen, are battling for control of his throne. Separately, they decide to send Vespasian East to Armenia to defend Rome's interests. But there is more at stake than protecting a client kingdom. Rumors abound that Agrippina is involved in a plot to destabilise the East. Vespasian must find a way to serve two masters—Narcissus is determined to ruin Agrippina, Pallas to save her. Meanwhile, the East is in turmoil. A new Jewish cult is flourishing and its adherents refuse to swear loyalty to the Emperor. In Armenia, Vespasian is captured. Immured in the oldest city on earth, how can he escape? And is a Rome ruled by a woman who despises Vespasian any safer than a prison cell?
Caligula has been assassinated and the Praetorian Guard have proclaimed Claudius Emperor - but his position is precarious. His three freedmen, Narcissus, Pallas and Callistus, must find a way to manufacture a quick victory for Claudius - but how? Pallas has the answer: retrieve the Eagle of the Seventeenth, lost in Germania nearly 40 years before. Who but Vespasian could lead a dangerous mission into the gloomy forests of Germania? Accompanied by a small band of cavalry, Vespasian and his brother try to pick up the trail of the Eagle. But they are tailed by hunters who pick off men each night and leave the corpses in their path. Someone is determined to sabotage Vespasian's mission. In search of the Eagle and the truth, pursued by barbarians, Vespasian will battle his way to the shores of Britannia. Yet can he escape his own Emperor's wrath?
Vespasian is serving as a military officer on the outskirts of the Roman Empire, suppressing local troubles and defending the Roman way. But political events in Rome—Tiberius's increasingly insane debauchery, the escalating grain crisis—draw him back to the city. When Caligula becomes Emperor, Vespasian believes that things will improve. Instead, he watches the young emperor deteriorate from Rome's shining star to a blood-crazed, incestuous, all-powerful, profligate madman. Lavish building projects, endless games, public displays of his relationship with his sister, Drusilla, and a terrified senate are nothing to Caligula's most ambitious plan: to bridge the bay of Neapolis and ride over it wearing Alexander's breastplate. And it falls to Vespasian to travel to Alexandria and fetch it from Alexander's mausoleum. Vespasian's mission will lead to violence, mayhem and theft—and in the end, to an act of ultimate betrayal.
About the Author
Robert Fabbri read Drama and Theater at London University and has worked in film and TV for 25 years. He is an assistant director and has worked on productions such as Billy Elliot, Hellraiser, Hornblower, and Patriot Games. His life-long passion for ancient history inspired him to write the Vespasian series.