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Friday 17 May 2019

‘The Road to War’ by Peter Tonkin

Published 12 Feb 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-79627829-2 (PB)
The year is 712, two years after the murder of Julius Caesar. The power of Rome lays with Triumvirs Mark Antony and twenty-year-old Octavianus his adopted son and heir. Rome is in turmoil. Brutus and Cassius are their greatest enemies and their ships are blockading their ports, preventing them from sailing out and taking their revenge on the main instigators in Caesar's death.

Antony calls upon his top secret agent Artemidorus also known as Septem to find a way of clearing the enemies' fleet. Artemidorus gathers his trusty companions Ferrata a one eyed soldier, Puella a female soldier and Quintas a battle hardened legionnaire to help him. Together with Antony and his commanders they decide that they need the help of Cleopatra. If she can provide them with ships they will be able to defeat the enemy fleet. However Egypt has had no inundation of the Nile to fertilise the crops for two years causing widespread famine. Added to this it has led to a plague and people are dying in their thousands. Antony is concerned that Cleopatra may be reluctant to help them, she has enough problems of her own.

Artemidorus and his group are given the task of travelling to her and trying to persuade her to come to their aid. However this involves a perilous journey over land and sea and they encounter more than a few problems, even at one stage having to make out they are Brutus' men. Also, some people they think they can trust turn against them, with terrible consequences. Even if they manage to reach Cleopatra and persuade her to provide them with a fleet, what is the guarantee that they can help exact the revenge Anthony craves?

A really fascinating and historically interesting book. The details are so well written I almost felt I was there. It brought ancient Rome and the perilous times alive.

I see reading about the characters at the back of the book that many of the events described did actually take place.
Anyone interested in the history of the Roman Empire and those turbulent times will thoroughly enjoy this intriguing story. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Peter Tonkin was born 1 January 1950 in Ulster, son of an RAF officer. He spent much of his youth travelling the world from one posting to another. He went to school at Portora Royal, Enniskillen and Palmer's, Grays. He sang, acted, and published poetry, winning the Jan Palac Memorial Prize in 1968. He studied English with Seamus Heaney at Queen's Belfast. His first novel, Killer, was published in 1978. His work has included the acclaimed "Mariner" series that have been critically compared with the best of Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley and Hammond Innes. More recently he has been working on a series of detective thrillers with an Elizabethan background.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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