(I received this book for free as part of Goodreads First Reads giveaways).
(This review may contain spoilers).
Although I haven’t read the previous books in this series, I did find this one quite easy to follow. It was good to see something of the society in Rome when the Christian church was beginning to take effect… and although there was a lot more to the plot than just that, I thought it was interesting to see how three of the characters (Cassius, Simo and Indavara) were affected by it.
I did think Cassius was an interesting character. I couldn’t have said I liked him all that much, even though I think his attitude was probably normal for that time period. It was interesting to see there were conflicts between him and Simo and although I felt that his treatment of Simo was wrong, it was better than how many slaves in the book were treated by their master/s.
While the atmosphere of this book was really engaging, there were some uses of modern language and slang that did throw me a bit out of the story. I did find it hard to differentiate between some of the secondary characters, but it was interesting to see some of the conflicts… as well as the fact that Cassius wasn’t perfectly good at his job. I would have liked a bit more detail about his personal life, but it was good to see how he interacted with the other people around him.
I was a bit torn between Indavara and Simo when it came to favourite characters. I admired Simo’s decision to stick to his morals, even in the face of the conflict between him and Cassius. But even though Indavara’s decision to join him with other members of the Faith weren’t for altruistic purposes, I found him easy to understand and relate to. And I thought it was good to see how his memory was triggered by the playing of the flute, although it was sad to see his frustration at not being able to remember.
I think it would have been good to have the book stick only to one perspective and although there was an air of mystery, the action very much overtook the book… although it was inevitable to see the situation come to a head towards the end of the book with the riots.
I have mixed feelings about whether or not I’d like to see more of this world and the characters, as I didn’t connect emotionally to the characters as easily I have in past books. But I did enjoy reading this and there were a lot of good scenes of action and tension.