The book “Vespasian. Emperor of Rome” is the ninth and final part of the novel about Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty and the initiator of the construction of a magnificent amphitheater – the Colosseum. This time the author takes us to Judea and presents Vespasian’s campaign to crush the Jewish rebellion. Moreover, Vespasian is competing for power in Rome.
For many lovers of the series it will be a “difficult” volume, due to the fact that we will have to say goodbye to the character of Titus Flavius Vespasian. For nine parts, we followed the fate of a Roman who, from an insignificant equestrian family, gradually advanced in the army and public administration to finally sit in the Senate. He took part in the conquest of Britain, was the governor of Africa or finally took command of the Roman army in the east, which after several defeats must defeat the fanatically brave Jews. Vespasian became the most important person in the east of the Empire.
As in the previous parts, Vespasian is accompanied by his devoted friend Magnus, beloved Cenis, brother Sabinus or freedman Hormus. We meet new characters, including Joseph Flavius, a Jewish historian, and the beautiful Berenice – the princess of Judea – with whom Titus falls in love, and who, together with Herod Agrippa II, tricks her son Vespasian. Vespasian arrives in Judea with an uncertain attitude, on the one hand he would like to quickly defeat the rebels and gain glory, but on the other hand he fears the emperor Nero, who might want to remove him for too great successes. As in all parts, the reader has the pleasure of taking part in amazing fight scenes, e.g. siege of Jotapata, hero’s personal charges or stalking.
Naturally, there is no shortage of intrigue and complicated politics, which is an inseparable part of the plot of all volumes. Vespasian, aware of his and Rome’s uncertain future, enters into alliances, conducts correspondence by letter or reads further signs that indicate his future great role.
The book, like the previous volumes, is distinguished by an amazing plot and the author’s neat capture of the most important information from Vespasian’s biography. We get a really intriguing story of a man who is one step away from taking power in the Empire, but must watch every step not to hurt himself or his loved ones.
The last volume of “Vespasian” has over 300 pages and it seems to me that the author used them very well. There is no shortage of exoticism, battle scenes, dilemmas of heroes, intrigues, mysticism and, above all, humor. Naturally, at the end of the piece, the author included a few sentences of correction and explained where he allowed himself a bit of fantasy. I absolutely recommend the book to anyone who has started the series.