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Review: The Road to Rome

Ben Kane

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

The Road to Rome

The book “The Road to Rome” is the third and final volume of the historical novel telling the fate of Romulus, Tarquin and Fabiola. This time the heroes meet in Rome and become entangled in the most important events of Caesar’s reign – the Ides of March.

Romulus and Tarquin, after traveling halfway around the world, reach Alexandria, where they are forcibly incorporated into Caesar’s army, which defends itself against the besieging Egyptians. Their mutual friendship is put to the test when their companion – the powerful Gaul Brennus – is killed, and their common wandering turns out to be the result of the actions of Tarquinius.

Both heroes separate, where Tarquin focuses on discovering the future and divination, and Romulus takes part in Caesar’s most important battles – at Zela, Ruspina, Thapsus and becomes his trusted legionnaire. Unexpectedly, after the victorious battle of Zela, Romulus admits to being a slave and joining the legion illegally. Together with his newly met companion Petronius, he is sentenced to “fight” in the arena with wild animals as noxius. Finally, he returns to Rome, where he finds his sister.

Meanwhile, Fabiola tries to find her place in Rome after returning from Alexandria. She buys a brothel where she previously served and competes with the hated Scewola. Meanwhile, Fabiola becomes Mark Antony’s lover which, when revealed, causes Fabiola to lose her foothold in Decimus Brutus.

The course of events gradually leads toward the ides of March, which will divide the siblings. Not only is Rome’s future at stake, but their own past as well.

The last part of the trilogy is extremely interesting and full of action. The author was certainly looking for many ways to treat the reader with exoticism, curiosity and tragic character. Once again, Fabiola has to compete in Rome with Scaevola, who is her main enemy. In the meantime, she maneuvers dangerously between Brutus and Antony, which only makes her difficult situation worse. Romulus, as usual, takes part in heavy battles, fights for his life in the arena with the “Ethiopian bull” and tries to see his own sister at all costs. It should be noted that the author clearly lacked an idea for the character of Tarquin, who largely spent his time watching the lupanar and divination. Personally, I also didn’t like the ending of the trilogy, which disappointed me a bit, given the long history of the characters.

As in the previous parts, at the end of the book, the author left at our disposal a glossary of the main terms with translations and descriptions, as well as his own commentary on the novel, in which he clearly explained his historical modifications.

The position is certainly recommended for all lovers of antiquity, especially those who have explored the earlier parts. The entire “Forgotten Legion” trilogy is a plus, and thanks to it, the reader may be even more eager to explore the knowledge of ancient Rome.

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